Violent crime impacts the families of Evanston far too often. Despite the excellent work of the Evanston Police Department, the City’s Youth and Young Adult Division and our partners throughout the community, acts of violence continue.

I am writing today to give you an update on the City of Evanston’s efforts to combat violent crime and to ask for your help and support of these efforts.

The Evanston Police Department has responded to the recent upsurge of handgun violence by forming a Gun Recovery Team comprised of officers extremely familiar with the individuals participating in the armed conflict and with the neighborhoods in which the violence has occurred.


Working a minimum of eight hours per day, the Gun Recovery Team is guided by the HEAT map, a compilation of shots fired and other gun-related calls located within a square-mile grid.

Its efforts are augmented by members of the Problem Solving Team and Foot Patrol, who use the HEAT map to actively engage residents in the affected area in knock-and-talks and who visit businesses, schools, parks and places of worship to contact citizens who may have direct knowledge about gun-related crime.

In addition, the Police Department’s Gun Buyback Program now operates on a daily basis in order to gain control of unwanted guns as quickly as possible. Reasons for a daily program include (1) unattended firearms may fall into the wrong hands during a burglary to a home or into the hands of children, often with tragic results; (2) it is unrealistic to expect people to wait six months to relinquish an unwanted firearm; and (3) a daily program is fiscally responsible, in that it involves no overtime.

Certainly the community is safer when unwanted firearms are taken out of circulation. For the reasons given, I believe turning in unwanted firearms is a win-win for the program and for the community. The Evanston Police Department continues to collect unwanted guns every day. Please feel free to call 3-1-1 to arrange for a member of the Problem Solving Team to finalize arrangements for transfer of a weapon to the department.

Active law enforcement efforts are only part of the solution. Staff from the City’s Youth and Young Adult Division work every day with young people who find themselves without jobs or enrolled in post-high school education programs needing assistance.

This past summer, the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program employed 550 Evanston youth, a 9 percent increase over 2014, with over 20 unique Evanston employers. These staff members are not in offices in the Civic Center, but instead are out in the community every day working one-on-one with individuals.

Division staff helps these young people find jobs, enroll in education programs, and, in some cases, assists them in relocating from Evanston for a fresh start.

So what can you do to help make Evanston a safer place?

First, if you know of individuals involved in criminal activities, let the Police Department know. So often I hear from residents that they know the people committing violent crimes, but unless individuals come forward, criminal charges cannot be filed against these offenders.

Second, if you can help provide young Evanston men and women jobs, let us know. Call 3-1-1 and ask to be connected to our Youth and Young Adult Division staff. They will help put you in touch with people who need jobs.

Finally, make sure you are getting the most up-to-date and accurate information about the City’s efforts to combat violent crime. The City sends regular updates via e-mail as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up to get these updates. More information can be found at cityofevanston.org, or by calling 3-1-1.

Keeping Evanston safe is everyone’s business. Many of us are working every day to make sure Evanston remains a safe place to live, raise a family, work and recreate. Please join me in these efforts.

Elizabeth B. Tisdahl
Mayor, City of Evanston

Join the Conversation


  1. Only part of the solution

    I wonder how much the gun buyback or confiscation without a strong penalty like required jail time will do. Evidence shows they can get more guns if they want to. Jobs will help if they can keep them long enough to prove to a real employer that they can and will show-up, provide good service and are jobs they will like and stay with or use as a ladder to better jobs. Education is clearly a strong key, but Evanston has, or at least we are told, very good schools. So what happened ? Do they drop out after the state required years/age, drop out before and 'disappear', problem youth or adults really come from other town [now live here or come just to commit crimes], courts 'let them pass' with no meaningful punishment or helpful treatment ? If they go back [or have just not been involved with crime] to homes or environment that caused/perpetuate criminal behavior, it is doubtful they will change? Moving to a better neighborhood and better housing might help but 'gangs' and bad influcences are are always a bus or a few steps away. One statement in the story raises an issue that as far as I know is not done or discussed "in some cases, assists them in relocating from Evanston for a fresh start." Will the home life change or are parents themselves contributing to the problem ? Is it, to any significant level, going to work unless the parental issues are dealt with—education and council—or the child is removed from the home and goes elsewhere [obviously away from the chance of a bad environment] like a foster home or at least placing them with a responsible relative who can deal with/correct the situation. I doubt, no matter how strongly this is required, the public and esp. social workers, government/school employees and "do gooder" who think just more money and weak programs will work, would permit this.

    1. You’re spot on. Gun buy back

      You're spot on. Gun buy back programs are great to get rid of crappy guns that wouldn't turn a profit because they are in too bad a shape to sell to a person or shop. Government will never be able to make a man somebody he does not want to me, no matter how much you try to convince him. Either he wants it bad enogh to go for it without abandon or he may never attain it…and blame everyone else for it.

  2. How to accurately predict the future
    If you want to know what Evanston will be like in the year 2045, just go back to what Evanston was like in the year 1985. I won’t be here in 2045, but I was here in 1985. Aside from new businesses and new construction projects, it’s the same old, same old. To quote the author I can’t remember, “Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it”.

    1. Evanston Past and Present
      That quote was from George Santayana.
      However Mark Twain probably had it right “History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

  3. Who Are We Kidding?

    This is just more political propaganda for a mayor who has a situation that was out of control a long time ago. As far as the execellent work of the E.P.D.  show me where they have made any progress in the unsolved murders that have been committed.  The gun buy back program is a joke most of the firearms turned in are as previously stated to old to collect any type of monetary benefit from a reputable  dealer. Are these guns that are being turned in being checked for connection to any crime as stated in Evanston Municipal code 
    9-8-9. – DISPOSITION OF HANDGUNS. Amended by Ordinance No. 6-O-15(A)All handguns ordered confiscated by the court under the provisions of Subsection 9-8-6(B) of this Chapter and all handguns received by the Evanston Police Department under and by virtue of Subsection 9-8-7(A) and Section 9-8-8 of this Chapter, shall be held and identified as to owner, where possible, by the Evanston Police Department, for a minimum of two (2) years prior to their being destroyed.

    (Ord. No. 42-0-05; Ord. No. 51-0-08; Ord. No. 8-0-12, (49-0-11(exh. B, § 9-8-9)), 1-23-2012).

    As for the youth summer Program from what areas are these 550 youth being hired from? As for the relocation of youth for a fresh start, this is just a scaled down version of Mayor Daley's  gentrification of the Gold Coast when they tore down the housing projects. Ship the problem to somebody elses community. The only time you see Madam Mayor or Madam Alderwoman is when a killing has occurred or there is a photo-op.West Evanston is an out of control bus and just like the media flood of one of her officer's a sleep behind the wheel, the Mayor is a sleep at the wheel of that bus.

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