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Violent crime up, property crime down in 2020

Lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic may have affected the crime rate.

Evanston police say crimes of violence increased in the city this year, while property crimes declined.

The latest figures available, with data through October, show violent crimes — murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery and aggravated battery/assault — increased 38.4%, from 86 to 119 incidents.

Property crimes — burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson — declined 19.8%, from 1,600 to 1,284 incidents.

The coronavirus pandemic may have had a substantial impact on the shift in the pattern of crimes. For January and February violent crimes were almost unchanged from a year earlier while property crimes were down slightly.

That pattern shifted dramatically after the pandemic took hold in March.

With more people at home to watch over their possessions, burglaries and thefts declined dramatically. But people spending more time cooped up at home may have been a major factor in the 62.5% increase in aggravated battery/assault.

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