Based on definitions of “community” in some dictionaries, people may or may not consider themselves to belong to the same community.  Webster defines community as: “1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. 2. a locality inhabited by such a group. 3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society in which it exists…”

“Diversity” is often the word associated with Evanston, which can refer to Evanston’s diversity in education, salaries, housing, business, age, gender, race, sexual preference, religion, or criminality.  Definition #3 encompasses the formation of communities based on one or more of the characteristics listed above.  However, I think definitions #1 and #2 are more likely to encourage the formation of a community in which more diverse populations are included and invested. 

The Oct. 8 issue of the RoundTable includes a letter from Evanston’s Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl titled “Evanston’s Efforts To Combat Violent Crime” (a copy of the Mayor’s Sept. 24 email). It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that the entire community of Evanston needs to do all that it can to “combat violent crime.” 

Although I can appreciate the Mayor’s reference to the efforts of the Evanston Police Department and the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program to combat violent crimes, there needs to be more inclusion and publicity about the efforts of individuals, organizations and agencies in the community that are also addressing violent crimes. 

Would-be criminals are often discouraged from criminal activity by being in touch with people who treat them with respect and offer them alternatives.  For example, the Citizen Network of Protection is a community organization that educates and advocates for any citizen that requests its assistance. Call 872-235-2289 or email 

In order for citizens to be willing to call the police and report crimes or give information about persons committing crimes, citizens need to feel that calling the police will get a response, that the response will occur within a reasonable amount of time, that the responding officers will treat the caller(s) with respect, and that the caller(s) will remain anonymous if requested.

I’m glad the RoundTable printed the Mayor’s letter, but it is not enough. Not all Evanston residents receive the RoundTable or have access to computers. 

It would be helpful if the City of Evanston updates to churches and businesses on what the City is doing to combat crime.

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...