Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Violent crime visible in city

By Megan Crepeau

The Daily Northwestern

Evanston saw four shootings, a drug bust and a mysterious corpse in the sewer this summer, but Northwestern students are still saying they feel safe on campus.

Evanston Police Department Deputy Chief Joseph Bellino would not comment on whether there was more violent crime this summer than in the preceding spring and winter, only saying the department has “come across all sorts of things.”

This summer, those “sorts of things” included four shootings, one fatal, all southwest of campus

The first, in the middle of June, occurred just behind an EPD outpost on Howard Street. The teenage victim told police he thought he had been shot because his attacker believed he had given information about gang activities to the police. A few days later, Chicago resident Lindon Watts, 17, was arrested in connection with the crime.

In another shooting at the end of June, Evanston Township High School football player Darryl Shannon Pickett was shot three times and left in an alley behind Davis Street. Pickett was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead the same afternoon. Police arrested 17-year-old Skokie resident Theo David Wright on July 4 in connection with the June 28 shooting.

A man taking his dog for a predawn walk on Brown Avenue was shot twice in the abdomen, making him the third shooting victim. The dog was hit by a bullet that might have passed through its owner. Both man and dog are expected to recover.

On Sept. 18, a man was found on Case Street, near Ridge Avenue, with bullet wounds to his head and chest. Since the victim has several criminal convictions, including seven for drug violations, police suspect that the shooting was drug-related.

Another homicide was discovered Aug. 1, when plumbers found a body partially wrapped in plastic in a catch basin on Howard Street. Police ruled the death a homicide by asphyxiation and said the body could have been dumped more than a year ago.

Chicago Police cooperated with the EPD in June to bust an open-air drug market and arrest more than 13 suspected gang members, one of whom was alleged shooter Watts. The sting was part of a Chicago Police effort, called Operation Triple Threat, in which undercover officers bought more than $4,000 in crack cocaine.

Despite the violent crime during the summer, some NU students said they aren’t concerned with their well-being.

Weinberg sophomore Angie Rankin, who lives in Foster-Walker Complex, said she feels “pretty safe” on campus.

“I have no problem walking around at night back here,” she said.

Damien Nguyen, a Weinberg freshman, agreed – to a point.

“This campus feels good,” he said. “Even two or three blocks off campus feels good.”

But he said he and a group of friends got lost in a “sketchy” Evanston neighborhood a few nights ago.

They were followed by suspicious cars and unable to give taxi companies an address at which to pick them up, he said.

That’s when he said he realized that things are less secure farther off campus.

Monday’s early morning break-in at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house brought crime closer to home.

There have been at least 10 intrusions in on-campus housing facilities reported since fall 2005, partially prompting an overhaul in campus security.

Beginning this quarter, students in dorms will come home at night to professional security personnel.

All residence hall and residential college lobbies will receive closed-circuit cameras, and NU has hired more police officers to cover the areas around dorms.

Rankin said she was “annoyed” by the extra measures at first but has since gotten used to alarm doors and security officers.

“We’ll adjust to it. We always do,” she said. “I’m sure that they’ll improve upon (the security measures) in the future. … I like seeing them doing something.”

Bellino and University Police Assistant Chief Dan McAleer agreed that students have responsibilities, too.

Security is not entirely in the hands of university officials or police officers, Bellino said.

“You’ve got to stay sensitive and familiar with the environment around you,” he said. “Try to think of potential scenarios that could occur and think of how safe you are.”

McAleer said it is “vital” that students lock their doors while sleeping and away from their rooms, and Bellino agreed that citizens should use common sense to secure their property.

“The security of your premises is paramount,” he said.

McAleer said he respected the job that his Evanston counterparts do.

“Evanston is the first suburb north of the City of Chicago, so serious crime is going to happen,” he said. “Evanston overall is a safe city, but be careful.”

Reach Megan Crepeau at

[email protected].

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Violent crime visible in city