Drug-related cases remain a 'serious issue,' McMahon says
Kane County prosecutors have been dealing with more cases in the first six months of this year compared with last year at this time.
State's Attorney Joe McMahon told the Kane County judicial and public safety committee Thursday that felony filings are up 15.7 percent. Misdemeanor and traffic cases have increased also.
It is the second year in a row where case filings have increased.
"While I don't think two years is a trend, it is certainly something we are looking at," he said.
Through June 30, 1,247 new felony cases were filed, he said, compared with 1,078 at the same time last year.
Aurora felony cases have declined, he said. Aurora, the county's largest city, is responsible for the most cases.
Carpentersville has seen an increase in felony drug cases and felony retail theft. The theft cases may be due, in part, to the opening of a Walmart there, he said.
Elgin has seen an increase in prosecutions for property crimes and crimes of violence, such as aggravated battery and robbery. Arrests for burglaries are up, but the number of burglaries is down. On Tuesday, in a meeting with reporters, McMahon attributed that to an improved relations between business owners and police, with the owners sharing video surveillance with the police.
Carpentersville Police Chief Michael Kilbourne noted the new Walmart opened in late June 2016. Six felony retail theft cases have been charged from the Walmart in the first half of 2017. Police respond to an average of 1.25 calls a day at the Walmart.
"Our experience with Walmart in general has not been a problem for the Carpentersville Police Department," Kilbourne said.
Drug-related cases "continue to be a serious issue," McMahon said. "Heroin is seen across all areas of the county."
• Daily Herald staff writer Harry Hitzeman contributed to this story.