Major crime in Evanston declined 9.8 percent last year -- thanks in major part to a huge drop of nearly 44 percent in December.
Evanston police officials reported the year-end tally to the City Council Monday night.
Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott said the decline this year was the biggest since a 12.4 percent drop in 2010. Crime was down only fractions of a percentage point in 2011 and 2012 from the year before.
Some of the more common major crime categories declined the most, with robberies and assualts each down 20 percent, burglary down 15 percent and thefts down nearly 8 percent.
But the number of murders increased by one, to four, and the number of reported rapes rosed from five to 11.
Parrott said police plan to focus on a program called DDACTS, or Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety, to try to keep driving down the crime numbers this year.
The national program encourages departments to evaluated their performance weekly to see how they're doing in the fight againt crime.
He said the department has also implemented a survey program that indicates police in Evanston are somewhat more satisfied with their jobs and their leadership than officers in similar departments nationwide.
The department plans to expand the program this year to survey members of the public about their encounters with police.