Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington says officers will step up stop-and-frisk activities in response to a recent wave of shooting incidents.
“One of the things I’ve worked very hard at is avoiding widespread use of stop-and-frisk,” Eddington told about 120 people gathered at a 5th Ward meeting Thursday night.
“But I can’t do that no more,” the chief said. “Sorry, this level of violence and use of guns is out of control.”
Recent shooting incidents have included mid-afternoon exchanges of gunfire outside the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center where the Thursday night meeting was held.
Widespread use of stop and frisk in New York and other cities has led to angry complaints of racial profiling from many minority residents, but it drew no complaints from residents at the 5th Ward meeting.
Eddington said the new policy in Evanston won’t mean that “every 15- to 50-year-old African American male will get patted down.”
Instead, he said, the policy will target people who are among the individuals police have identified as being involved in the families or gangs or other groups involved in recent violence.
“The only way the police department can directly impact this problem is to make it hazardous for you to carry your already illegal gun,” Eddington said.
He noted that Thursday morning police had raided a home on Church Street and arrested a convicted felon who, police said, was in possession of a .380 semi-automatic handgun.
Eddington said the department would also launch its expanded summer patrol plan within the next couple of days — for an earlier start than usual and that he’s asking Cook County Sherif Tom Dart for additional assistance from his gang unit.
Residents at the meeting criticized everything from an influx of out-of-town residents into low income housing developments to a lack of parenting skills and a shortage of jobs as factors contributing to the violence.
Some speakers said relatives were refusing to come visit them because of the violence or that they were considering moving away.
Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said she was looking for “three concrete things we can do” to respond to the problem.
Residents suggested expanded mentoring programs for young people, creation of more jobs for unemployed youths and increased efforts to encourage people to break the “no snitch” code and share information about crimes with police.
Top: Police Chief Richard Eddington, with Alderman Holmes and anti-gun-violence activist Carolyn Murray in the background.