Kane County felony cases on pace for 8.8% jump over last year

As of Tuesday, Kane County prosecutors have charged more felony cases than they did all last year. If this pace continues, 2017 will see 8.8 percent more felonies charged compared to 2016.

State's Attorney Joe McMahon said his first priority is public safety. He's concerned the uptick will add to the workload for his staff, especially with the county board's pressure for departments to cut costs.

"(Overall felony cases) is something we look at every year. Am I concerned about it? Yes," McMahon said Tuesday.

"There's been a lot of pressure to reduce staff by the county board. We continue to look for ways to be (more) efficient," he said. "Our responsibility here is public safety."

Last year, Kane County prosecutors authorized 2,255 felony cases, a 6.8 percent increase over the 2,111 felony cases authorized in 2015.

As of Tuesday, prosecutors had signed off on 2,279 felony cases, a pace for 2,453 felony cases by year's end. If this number is hit, it will be a 16 percent increase in felony filings from 2015.

Last year was the first year felony filings increased since hitting a high mark of 3,849 in 2007.

In 2011, which was McMahon's first full year in office, 2,909 felony cases were filed.

While felonies will be up this year over 2016, they were on pace to be higher. Over the summer, McMahon told county board members that halfway through 2017, felony case filings were up nearly 16 percent over the same period in 2016.

In summer 2016, Illinois lawmakers decriminalized possession of some quantities of marijuana. So this year, some marijuana cases that would have been felonies were charged as misdemeanors.

McMahon said retail thefts and car burglaries for people to feed their drug addictions and crimes committed by people abusing alcohol and other illegal drugs account for a large share of felonies.

McMahon's office plans to give a year-end breakdown of felony cases and other types of crimes in early 2018.

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