2009 crime index shows decline in local crime rates

Grace Johnson

The number of crimes committed in Evanston fell 13.4 percent last year, according to the Evanston Police Department’s recently released 2009 crime index.

Aside from murder, which rarely accounts for more than a couple incidents every year, the most significant decrease occurred in robbery with 26.9 percent. While almost all categories showed a decline in comparison with 2008’s data, two more sexual assaults and three more arson investigations occurred in 2009, an Evanston police press release reported.

“The combined decline in part one (major) crimes is significant,” Evanston Police Cmdr. Tom Guenther said. “It can be attributed to the police department’s analysis and response to crime. We address these issues in a real-time manner at our weekly deployment meetings.”

Many of the sexual assaults recorded were internal family situations, not “stranger-danger” situations, Guenther said.

Police and the Evanston Fire Department see little concern in the increase in arson incidents, Guenther said.

“Those incidents were investigated, and we feel confident there is no danger to the public,” he said.

While Guenther largely attributed the decrease in crime to police strategies, he also gave credit to Evanston residents.

“We feel our partnership with citizens is extremely important,” he said. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

– Grace Johnson