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Year in review: Crime down sharply

Reported crime in Evanston declined sharply this year.

The local drop was far larger than declines reported by the FBI last week for the nation as a whole using data from the first six months of 2009.

Reported crime in Evanston declined sharply this year.

The local drop was far larger than declines reported by the FBI last week for the nation as a whole using data from the first six months of 2009.

Based on Evanston Now’s database of Evanston police daily crime bulletins, crimes against persons — including homicide, rape, robbery, assault and battery — declined by roughly 36 percent this year from 2008 levels. That’s a drop from 210 to 134 incidents, with just two more reporting days left to go in the year. It compares to a 4.4 percent nationwide decrease in violent crime reported by the FBI.

Major property crimes — arson, burglary, and theft — dropped 21 percent here, from 2021 to 1585 incidents, compared to a decline of about 6 percent reported nationwide.

Some incidents are reclassified after the daily reports are issued, but the overall trends do not appear to be much impacted by those changes.

Police officials have generally credited efforts to map crime incidents and quickly deploy officers to identified hot spots — what Police Chief Richard Eddington sometimes describes as "cops on dots" — as playing a major role in the crime reduction, along with increased work with community groups on crime prevention efforts.

This year’s decline in violent crime reverses a 6 percent uptick in such incidents last year and resumes a general trend of declining crime rates that’s been underway for decades. Property crime had dropped 3 percent in 2008.

Many experts have expressed fears that the recession would lead to a upsurge in criminal activity, but an Associated Press story on the national figures offered several theories for the decline, including a suggestion that with more jobless people at home it may be harder for burglars to break into homes unnoticed by neighbors.

Related stories

Crime down sharply so far this year (August 2009)

Police chief explains crime trends (July 2009)

Crime trends mixed (in 2008)

 

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