Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!

In response to community concerns about violence involving the use of handguns, the Evanston Police Department implemented a violence-reduction strategy in September 2015.

 “The initiative included both the police department and the community working together to have a positive impact on reducing violent crime and other criminal activity through assigning two members from the department’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team and Tactical Unit to work at strictly recovering firearms,” said Commander Joseph Dugan of the Evanston Police Department.

“The initiative also included members of the Problem-Solving Team and Foot Patrol going out and actively engaging residents by conducting knock and talks at residences, businesses, schools, parks and places of worship. In order to effectively deploy resources on an ongoing basis, members utilized the assistance of a HEAT map which summarizes and maps out incidents of shots fired calls.”     

From the beginning of the program through the end of 2015, police working on the initiative recovered a total of 25 firearms. In addition members of other units in the department recovered 16 firearms during the same period.    

“The officers working the initiative relied on their knowledge of individuals involved in ongoing conflicts in our community as well as confidential informants, tips, the monitoring of social media and investigative stops in order to recover the firearms,” said Commander Dugan. 

The initiative will continue into 2016 as will other initiatives such as the ongoing gun buyback program, where residents can turn in firearms on a daily basis in exchange for $100, said the Commander.

Anyone wishing to turn in a firearm or wanting to provide information regarding crime in Evanston is asked to contact the Evanston Police Department by calling 311 or by using the non-emergency line 847-866-5000. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can use Text-A-Tip by texting the information to CRIMES (274637) and entering EPDTIP in the message line with the tip information.