Evanston recorded more homicides in 2021 than in any other year in more than two decades, and those incidents dominated public safety news in the city.

On the other hand, the Police Department’s Crime Dashboard shows a modest decline in overall major criminal activity for the year.

Here’s a countdown of the crime stories that drew the most reader interest this year.

5. One dead, one hospitalized after violence on Wesley

Sept. 26 — Evanston police say a 45-year-old Naperville man was shot to death and a 27-year-old Chicago man was stabbed in an incident about 3:30 Sunday afternoon in the 2000 block of Wesley Avenue.

Evanston police say this was the gun used by the hostage-taking gunman. (EPD photo)

4. Gunman dead, woman critically injured

Jan. 9 — Evanston police say a gunman took a woman hostage at the IHOP at Howard and Asbury around 5:40 p.m. Saturday and then shot her multiple times before fleeing across Howard Street where he exchanged gunfire with Evanston police who fatally shot him.

The gunman, 32-year-old Jason Nightengale of Chicago, had also shot several people in Chicago earlier in the day, leaving at least three of them dead.

The woman he shot in Evanston, 61-year-old Marta Torres, later died of her injuries.

Police leaving the high school late Thursday morning, apparently carrying evidence from the incident. (Bill Smith photo)

3. Two guns recovered at ETHS, school on lockdown

Dec. 16 — Evanston police say two guns were recovered at Evanston Township High School Thursday morning and that the school is on lockdown at this hour.

No shots were fired. No one was injured. Police detained eight students and three face criminal charges in juvenile court.

Evanston Police on the shooting scene in the 1700 block of Dodge Avenue Saturday night. (EPD photo)

2. Man shot to death in home on Dodge

Sept. 5 — 21-year-old Stanley A. Butler III was shot to death in his home in the 1700 block of Dodge Avenue shortly before 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

19-year-old Alejandro Lopez of Waukegan has been charged with first degree murder in the case.

Police cars at the shooting scene on Green Bay Road Sunday evening. (EPD photo)

1. One dead, four wounded in shooting on Green Bay

Nov. 28 — Evanston police say five people were shot about 7:15 p.m. Sunday at the Mobil gas station in the 1900 block of Green Bay Road, and one of the victims has died.

Police described the shooting as a targeted attack and they later arrested 19-year-old Leonard Galvez, a Rogers Park resident. Galvez, who police said drove the car used in the shooting, has been charged with first degree murder and four counts of attempted first degree murder.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.