(The Center Square) – As the incidents of violent crime continue to increase in Illinois, a crime summit was held Monday to discuss ways to combat crime.
Lawmakers, law enforcement officials and victims of crime gathered at the University of Illinois-Chicago to get feedback and legislative solutions to reduce violence.
According to the FBI, despite reporting a nation-leading 0.7% population decline in 2020, the number of violent crimes committed in Illinois over the same period increased by 4%. The state's overall violent crime rate of 426 incidents for every 100,000 people is up 4.7% year over year.
There were a total of 1,151 murders committed in Illinois in 2020, up 38% from the previous year.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, is co-chair of the newly formed House Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force. He said all aspects of the criminal justice system need to work together to deter crime.
"The prosecutors, the judges, the state’s attorneys, the lawmakers are all pointing fingers saying who’s at fault,” Ford said.
The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus pushed through several criminal justice reform measures this year, including police certification, body cameras and the elimination of cash bail.
GOP lawmakers had no such luck with their anti-crime proposals. State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, introduced anti-crime legislation that didn’t go anywhere in Springfield this fall. His measure included more state funding for police departments.
“The men and women that protect us every day are some of the finest human beings to walk this earth, and if we don’t start standing up for them, and thanking them and appreciating them and letting them know we are behind them, this is only going to get worse,” Rose said.
Ford agreed and said police departments around Illinois must be allowed to do their jobs.
“They are dealt a bad hand because of the failure in the legislature, the failure in the school system, the failure in the court system, and the prisons, and the police are left hanging with all of these problems and we have to be fair. We can longer allow that,” Ford said.