Focus on Violent Crimes including Domestic Terrorism
A focus on violent crimes and solving homicides must be a priority. In order to provide these cases with the resources they need, there must be a community-wide reassessment of how Kane County taxpayers want their tax dollars spent. Incarceration is expensive and ineffective. Treatment, mentoring, housing support, and other services are more cost-effective. In order to prioritize violent crimes prevention and prosecution we must clear the dockets, jails, and prisons of non-violent offenders.
Another critical area that must be addressed is the growing threat of hate-motivated violence and targeted violence in the form of mass casualty attacks in our public spaces. The State’s Attorney’s Office has an important role to play in addressing these forms of violence. A commitment to use not only the hate crimes laws, but also the state’s terrorism law is one way, to-date grossly under-utilized, to investigate and prosecute hate-motivated violence.
Prevent Mass Casualty Attacks
Support Illinois’ Red Flag Law
The recently enacted Firearms Restraining Order Act (commonly referred to as the “Red Flag Law”) can only work if the public understands how to use it. The law allows the police or individuals (either of them) to petition a court seeking a restraining order that requires an individual who is exhibiting behaviors that raise serious concerns of violence to temporarily give up custody of his or her firearms, ownership identification and concealed carry permit.
The State’s Attorney’s Office can serve as a resource for public education on what the law provides, the factors a court will look at, and how individuals can petition a court to issue such an order. In court the State’s Attorney’s Office can serve as an advisor to individuals to assist them in completing and presenting their petitions to the court.
Creating a permanent program within the office to assist community members with petitions for firearms restraining orders can make a meaningful impact on preventing not just mass casualty attacks but also suicide attempts. It will also serve to improve the quality of the petitions filed so as to avoid infringement on an individual’s Second Amendment rights.
Support Behavioral Intervention Efforts
Working with community colleges, universities, and school districts to build and maintain multi-disciplinary threat assessment teams is a tested prevention strategy for addressing mass casualty attacks. It is being implemented with success in other jurisdictions around the United States.
In Kane County various school districts have already sought out training on threat assessment team development. Partnering with the State’s Attorney’s Office can provide very useful leverage for early intervention and re-direction of individuals who may be planning mass casualty attacks.
Protecting ALL Victims of Crime
Victims of crime must have a voice in the criminal justice system. Two areas that require particular focus and attention are victims of domestic violence and undocumented victims. In many instances there is an overlap between these two groups.
All victims must be made to feel secure in coming forward to report crimes against them, and they must be provided ongoing support to see that individual justice is achieved in his or her case.