Race, crime and traffic stops in Evanston

Mark Tendam.

In response to demands from Alderman Mark Tendam during his mayoral campaign for more data on police performance, Police Chief Richard Eddington delivered 135 pages of tables and charts in a presentation to the Human Services Committee Monday night.

You could read it all yourself, but here are some key items from the data.

Major crime victims and suspects

This chart compares the 2015 estimated population of Evanston to the victims and suspects in major crimes against persons that occurred that year in the city. Those crimes include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated assault.

Whites were 60 percent of the city's residents, but were only 25 percent of the victims and just 11 percent of the suspects.

Blacks were 17 percent of the city's residents, but were 54 percent of the victims and 59 percent of the suspects.

Looking at the same data another way, blacks were more than three times as likely to be a crime victim than you would expect based on their share of the population, while whites were less than half as likely.

Traffic stops

This chart compares the resident population of Evanston by race and ethnicity with traffic stops Evanston police conducted in 2016.

Eddington notes that the city's driving population isn't the same as its resident population -- and while whites are 60 percent of residents, they're only 52.5 percent of the drivers on the city's streets.

Whites are slightly less likely to be stopped, more likely to be issued a citation and much less likely to be searched or arrested.

Blacks are more likely to be stopped, less likely to be issued a citation and much more likely to be searched or arrested.

(Overall nearly 40 percent of stops ended with citations issued and just over 3 percent resulted in arrests. Most stops ended with issuance of a written or verbal warning. Less than 7 percent of stops involved searches.)

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, said, "Myself, looking at this data, it can support the perception that overall the black community, by percentage, is still being over-policed versus its white counterparts."

Eddington replied that given the the higher proportion of blacks identified as suspects in serious crimes, it should not be unexpected that they would also be more likely to be arrested.

"I think our job is to suppress crime, and we should be dealing with the people involved in those events," the chief said.

"Until the demographics of victims and offenders change, I don't think our stop data or search rate is going to change," Eddington said.

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Comments

Thank you Chief Eddington

Click on the link in the article and go to page 256 - that's where the Evanston Police Department report starts. Residents in our community can see that data is compiled and analyzed from many different perspectives.

EPD has a very difficult job to do.

Chief Eddington says it best, "Until the demographics of victims and offenders change, I don't think our stop data or search rate is going to change." Nor it should.

One idea to consider : if more people obeyed the laws, there would be fewer traffic stops and arrests. 

Would obeying the laws be consistent with "Making Evanston the Most Livable City?"

TP