Kane County felonies down, child support collection up in 2013
Felony cases and misdemeanor DUIs were down again in 2013 compared to 2012, according to an annual report from Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon's office.
Child support collections have increased, and the success rate for people in the county's five deferred prosecution programs remains at 75 percent.
McMahon touched on the highlights of the report this week during his monthly meeting with reporters.
Last year was the sixth consecutive year felony case filings have decreased from the high mark set in 2007 of 3,846 cases. In 2013, 2,342 felony cases were authorized, a 10.6 percent decrease from the previous year.
"That is consistent across the region," he said. "That's a trend that's taking place across the country as well."
McMahon credited police departments in Aurora and Elgin, the two cities in Kane that account for about 55 percent of felony cases, with "innovative" approaches to community policing. New programs such as more ways to submit anonymous crime tips via social media help minimize retaliation.
"There have been advances in technology through Facebook and Twitter that allow police to conduct investigations today that they couldn't five years ago," McMahon said.
Misdemeanor driving under the influence cases also dropped from 1,369 in 2012 to 1,063 in 2013, a dip of 22.4 percent, the report said. However, some of the decrease is due to municipalities prosecuting DUIs under their own local laws.
McMahon's office helped collect $23.2 million in child support during the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from Dec. 1, 2012 through Nov. 30, 2013.
That's an increase of $1.3 million, or about 5.9 percent, from the 2012 fiscal year, and a 39 percent increase from 2009. A state grant allows McMahon's staff to provide this service, and he said a rise in referrals and greater staff efficiency also has boosted the total.
"It would take longer if it was a state agency," he said.
Three out of every four people who are admitted into a deferred prosecution program successfully completes it.
The 75 percent success rate since 1995 provides low-level, low-risk offenders with a chance to contribute to society while still being held accountable for their actions.
"Not everybody who is charged with a crime and comes through the system needs to be dealt with aggressively (with a long prison term)," he said.