FILE - Police, Chicago, Virus Outbreak Illinois

Chicago Police officers cross the street in downtown Chicago, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 

(The Center Square) – Crime statistics from the FBI show an upward trend in violent crime. Among those crimes on the rise in Illinois are police killed in the line of duty.

Data the FBI published in May shows the number of police feloniously killed across the country and by state.

“2021 was a really bad year in the United States for police officers feloniously killed, there were 73 of them,” said Wirepoints Senior Editor Matt Rosenberg, who analyzed the data. “We had a 52% jump over the rolling yearly average in 2021.”

Rosenberg called it a “great unraveling,” something he said has intensified in the past three years.

“And we’re seeing it in Illinois,” Rosenberg told WMAY. “We had the 5th most felonious homicides in 2021 out of 50 states among law enforcement officers and if you look at the 10 year stretch, we rank No. 7 out of 50.”

Illinois had 14 police officers killed in the line of duty over the past decade ending in 2021. The majority of those came in the last three years of data, which Rosenberg notes was during Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s term. Eight were in the last three years. Five were killed in 2021.

In reviewing other violent crime stats, Rosenberg doesn’t see the trends relaxing.

“Armed robberies, carjackings, crimes on transit in big cities, there are very worrisome things going on and it loops around and connects back with the violence towards police,” Rosenberg said.

He was critical of Pritzker defending the controversial legislation becoming law Jan. 1 to reform the state’s system of bail.

“This has occurred and spiked here in Illinois under Gov. J.B. Pritzker,” Rosenberg said. “He has signed and stoutly defended Democratic enacted state legislation in 2021 to abolish cash bail, decrimnalize trespassing and to consider ending qualified immunity for police against lawsuits for just doing their job.”

Pritzker’s Republican opponent Darren Bailey Wednesday released a plan to repeal the SAFE-T act that includes the Pre-Trial Fairness Act.

“Though Governor Pritzker likes to claim that the law simply diverts low-level drug offenders from sitting in prison before trial, the fact is that the SAFE-T Act will put hardened criminals back on the street,” Bailey said in a statement.

Last month, state Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, defended the SAFE-T Act and the cashless bail provision. He told Chicago AM 560 the discretion will be up to the judge, who he said he trusts will keep violent criminals in jail pre-trial. The rest, he said, should be presumed innocent before trial and let go.

“It costs taxpayers millions and billions of dollars over the years. Those people won’t be locked up in county jail anymore and taxpayers will be grateful for that,” Ford said.

Republican state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, said with an increase in crime, there are a slew of other problems with the bill. He doesn’t expect to turn bill sponsors into opponents.

“If a few of these suburban Democrats who voted for it lose this election on the issue of crime, I think the Democrats that come back in the spring, their attitude would have changed greatly,” Rose told The Center Square.

The election is Nov. 8. Lawmakers return for the scheduled fall session the following week.

Associate Editor

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience and hosts the WMAY Morning Newsfeed out of Springfield.