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Youth crime prevention efforts questioned

Several aldermen at Saturday's budget workshop questioned the effectiveness of the Evanston Police Department's efforts to combat youth crime and delinquency.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said that of the 162 officers in the department, 19 are dedicated to youth and juvenile services.

"I'd like some further clarification as to what those people are doing, who they are impacting and how we evaluate what's being done," he said.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, noted that the city also spends almost $400,000 on city-school liaison officers.

"How does all of this come together, what's the overlap?" Ald. Holmes asked.

"I'm suggesting I don't see the impact," Ald. Jean-Baptiste added, "Maybe I'm taking for granted what's already there and if it weren't there we would have a greater crisis, but I think we need to see if existing resources can be redeployed."

"There's almost $2 million in the police budget for youth services," Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said, "I think there comes a time when we need to hold the police responsible for resolving and preventing crime problems."

Shortly before Police Chief Frank Kaminski retired last summer he, with some prompting from some aldermen, proposed hiring 10 new officers to create tactical squad to deal with sporadic outbreaks of criminal activity in various neighborhoods, largely caused by youths and young adults.

That proposal was later cut in half, and the city manager ultimately dropped it from the budget completely, saying there is not enough money available to fund it.

 

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