A few dozen Evanston residents and city workers turned out this morning for a follow-up meeting to last month’s “Partnering for a Safer Evanston” crime prevention session that drew about 250 people to Evanston High School.

Participants

Peace activist Dickelle Fonda, ETHS security chief Frank Kaminski and Alderman Delores Holmes at today’s Safer Evanston meeting.

In this morning’s gathering at the Civic Center participants tried to come up with strategies and targets for measuring progress toward achieving some of the 72 goals outlined at the original meeting.

Meeting facilitator George Packard clustered the goals into nine categories ranging from youth initiatives and employment to communication and “tracking reality.”

Education consultant Audrey Soglin Kihm, NAACP leader Judith Treadway and Alderman Cheryl Wollin at today’s Safer Evanston meeting.

Assistant City Manager Rolanda Russell said she hopes to have a summary of results from this session available early next week.

Related stories

Crime down, but not out – Feb. 3

Officials at meeting mum on murder – Feb. 4

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

  1. Maybe people realized the City crime meeting was worthless?
    Let me ask a simple question during the budget process the police department asked for a tactical unit. To deal with crime in hot spots. A million dollar expense. Why is this not being discussed in detail?

    The community people present believe that somehow youth crime is the most presenting problem. They want more jobs or new youth services and programs. This is so typical of Evanston. By the way why don’t any of these people want to deal with ETHS drop out rate, since many of those dropping out are most likely a high percentage of the criminals. Ofcourse what is the real rate is another question. All this is interesting since the city is cutting jobs and will continue, given the huge budget problems. Also the city has many youth programs in place why are they not evaluating them? How many of those involved with these programs are political connected to the council?

    Lets get real Evanston needs to some how invite the several hundred hardcore criminals in town to leave.
    The city needs to deal with the 35 vacant buildings fast that are problems in the neighorhoods. The Mayor was stating they should be taking care of these buildings before they become problems. It is very likely some of this buildings are currently supporting drugs and gang activity.

    I think this meeting will be nothing more than to help justify the “youth coordinator” position the city does not need in the first place.

  2. Attendance shrinks
    I thought the headline for this otherwise excellent article was not fitting for how the meeting actually went. I think the real story was that an important process began and is continuing with input from concerned and involved citizens.

    1. Turnout
      Hi Ron,
      Thanks for your post.

      It’s hard to boil a whole meeting down into six words for a headline and say anything at all, especially when the session was supposed to come up with many ideas and not finally adopt any of them.

      That said, I recall that observers thought it was significant when people kept showing up in consistent numbers for the recent series of West Side planning meetings, for Central Street planning meetings and for the lake front visioning meetings.

      It validated the idea that there was real concern about those issues and that people felt the process would yield a result worth the investment of their time.

      So why is it not significant when attendance drops by perhaps 80 percent from the first to the second crime meeting?

      Are there a variety of possible explanations — the lack of a dynamic guest speaker for the second session, for example? Certainly. Or maybe most folks who went to the first meeting thought things were so well in hand that they didn’t see any need to show up for the second one. (I assume you don’t buy Junad’s take on it.)

      I’m still waiting to get the summary report of the meeting’s conclusions from the city manager’s office. Once I have that I’ll follow up with a story about the outcomes.

      — Bill

      1. Turn out
        Bill,

        I appreciate your taking the time to respond.

        Thanks for the response.

  3. Turn out crime meeting additional comment.
    Bill – While my thought on why people did not attend may or may not be correct. The bottomline is citizens maybe very concerned, but they clearly do not have all the facts to make any real decisions. I think you would agree that without all the information on any issue not being available there is no good solution to any problem. One public official in attendance at the first meeting gave me the thumbs down on the meeting, since the official clearly understood the meeting was not addressing the real issues.

  4. Why I did not go to the crime meeting
    I was one of the citizens who was present at the first Evanston crime meeting, but not at the second. There are several reasons why. Although I appreciate the event organizers’ efforts, I felt that the outcome of the first meeting was vague to the point of being ineffectual. The number of “goals” that came out of that session — 72 — shows how unwieldy the exercise was.

    Part of the problem was that organizers approached the city of Evanston as if it were a homogeneous entity, which it is decidedly not. I live in south Evanston, which is challenged by increasing gang violence; although, for example, I have sympathy for residents around NU who are worried about problems with unruly students, these issues are entirely different and need their own unique solutions.

    If I had confidence that the city would respond to our problems in a firm, effective way I would be more likely to participate in future crime meetings. However, I fear that these meetings will continue to be bureaucratic brainstorming sessions resulting in vague, one-size-fits-all solutions.

    1. Crime Meeting – Jury still out….
      Kristin (and others),
      I appreciate your comments and totally understand your frustration with the process. I came very close to not attending the second meeting as well, but thought I would give it a chance. While I was not at all impressed with the process, a few good ideas may have been generated. Although, I was a bit frustrated when we broke up into nine groups, each asked to identify 8-10 action items. Trying to solve problems this way is cumbersome at best and tends to stifle those with creative solutions who often get frustrated at the “process”. News flash: there is no single, feel-good, solution to the problem — it takes hard work.

      You are totally correct when you point out that Evanston is not a homogeneous entity. However, bringing attention to the problems that exist can help to generate creative solutions. One issue that citizens need to understand is that what happens in Evanston happens to ALL Evanston residents. Just because a neighborhood has a lower crime level does not exempt it from future crime. If a particular ward or neighborhood is having a problem, there should be an outcry from all neighborhoods that criminal activity is not acceptable or tolerated. We need to acknowledge and ADDRESS the problems that exist.

      I am not a fan of spending tons of tax dollars on consultants to tell us we have some problems. I think anyone who has their eyes open can see problems exist. That said, I do feel that grass-roots efforts to educate and suggest solutions do have their place.

      Like I said in the title, the jury is still out as to whether the process can generate results over time.

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