Figures released by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office show homicides in the county have hit a 27-year record high — and Evanston is tied with west-suburban Cicero for the number of violent deaths.
Readers may remember the political kerfuffle leading up to last spring’s city election when Evanston Together, a group opposing several challengers in aldermanic races, claimed that the insurgents, and mayoral candidate Daniel Biss, hoped to replace Evanston’s council-manager form of government with a strong mayor system — like the one in Cicero, a town with a history of political corruption.
Biss responded by accusing the critics of “an ugly and racially charged effort to connect us to a majority-Latinx community with a strong mayor government.”
Biss, and many of the aldermanic challengers Evanston Together had opposed, won the election and are now on the City Council. And the idea of changing Evanston’s form of government seems to have dropped off the table.
Homicides countywide stood at 1,009 as of Tuesday, and the medical examiner’s office says the last time the county saw more than 1,000 homicides was in 1994 when the full year figure was 1,141. In 1991 the office handled an all-time record 1,229 homicides.
While most of the county’s homicides occur in Chicago, the medical examiner’s office says nearly 23% this year have happened in the suburbs. The 10 suburbs with the most homicides so far this year range from Harvey with 30, to Cicero, Evanston and Markham with six each.
This chart shows the number of homicides, the population of each community and the number of homicides per 100,000 residents. It shows that on a population basis, Evanston’s homicide rate now is slightly higher than Cicero’s.
Evanston has averaged between two and three homicides per year over the past more than two decades. The year-to-date total count of six for this year is higher than any full-year figure during that period.