New data from the state transportation department shows that while most Illinois police agencies have been making fewer traffic stops in recent years, the numbers for Evanston have increased dramatically.
From 2008 to 2011 traffic stops by Evanston police rose by nearly 38 percent, from 128 to 176 for for every 1,000 residents.
During the same period statewide the number of stops declined nearly 14 percent, from 196 to 168 for every 1,000 residents.
Evanston, which had lagged dramatically behind the statewide average for traffic stops in 2008, slightly exceeded the average by last year.
But while the number of citations issued to drivers by police statewide dropped 22 percent — even more than the number of traffic stops — the number of citations issued in Evanston remained almost unchanged — up just 3 percent from 2008 to 2011.
That means Evanston police are issuing a lot more warnings to motorists, and not generating much additional revenue for the city from the stepped up enforcement efforts.
The state data also breaks out information on the proportion of white and minority motorists stopped by police — to track whether there may be validity to complaints that police sometimes stop motorists for “driving while black.”
Over the past four years Evanston police have stopped a slightly higher proportion of white than minority drivers, while the statewide figures have shown that minority drivers are slightly more likely than whites to be stopped by police.
And in Evanston minority drivers who are stopped are somewhat less likely to be issued citations than white drivers, while that pattern is reversed statewide.
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