The number of felony cases charged in Kane County has declined for the sixth year in a row from the record set in 2007.
Overall, felonies were down 10.6 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, with prosecutors authorizing 2,342 cases last year compared to 2,620 cases from 2012, according to court records.
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Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon credits partnerships between police and community groups for the declining number of felony cases, along with more after-school programs to provide options to gangs.
"Six years is a trend. The credit for that goes to the police departments and local community groups. Both the city of Aurora and the city of Elgin have been creative in working with community groups," McMahon said, pointing to relationships between individual officers and residents as a key component. "That has created an atmosphere where community members and individuals feel more invested. They feel the police department is a partner in this effort."
McMahon said gang life is not glamorous and a road to ruin.
"There is no good outcome to gang involvement," McMahon said. "Gang activity ends up in one of two places: The Department of Corrections (prison) or a fatality. It's a lie and it's a promise of false protection and false hope."
The number of felonies charged in 2013 is down nearly 40 percent from the high mark of 3,846 cases in 2007 and down nearly 20 percent from the 2,909 cases in 2011, records show.
McMahon's office is still compiling year-end numbers and will have more to report in February or March.
One downside is that it looks like violent crime increased in Aurora and Elgin in 2013. McMahon also said the Child Advocacy Center, a branch of his office that investigates crimes against children, had more referrals last year for abuse and neglect, and juvenile delinquency cases also were up.
In the coming year, the number of felony cases also could further decline as a new law that went into effect on Jan. 1 requires 17-year-olds be prosecuted as juveniles except for serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder and armed robbery.