At the end of 2018 three homicides remained under investigation. The 2018 annual report from the Kane County State’s Attorney attributes the inability to solve these violent crimes to “gang-affiliated witnesses who refuse to cooperate with authorities.”
It is unacceptable that homicides cannot be solved because community members are not cooperating with law enforcement. It is equally unacceptable to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the communities directly impacted by violent crimes, and it raises serious concerns when the State’s Attorney’s Office uses terms like “gang-affiliated witnesses.”
It is accurate that witnesses to violent crimes are sometimes reluctant to cooperate with law enforcement. This problem is not unique to Kane County. The challenge is to ask the hard questions, engage in the often uncomfortable dialogue, and work to build the trust needed to solve and even prevent violent crimes.
The United States of America represents approximately 5% of the world’s population. Sadly, 25% of the world’s imprisoned population is right here at home. According to a report by the Vera Institute of Justice, Black people are 3.6x more likely to be incarcerated in local jails than white people nationally.
In Kane County the rate of jail incarceration black people is much higher than the rate of incarceration of white people. The rate of incarceration of LatinX community members is also at a higher rate than white people.
Next Steps for Kane County…
The first step to solving the problems we face is to have a robust conversation around these issues. One of the best place for those conversations are during elections.
In 2020 Kane County has the opportunity to elect a State’s Attorney that can provide safety and healthy communities. It is also an opportunity to ensure that a strong and independent voice remains at the head of the Kane County State’s Attorney to protect the interests of the people.
Going forward the next Kane County State’s Attorney must build on the good works in place and strive to further improve the administration of criminal justice in Kane County.