One of my top priorities is making sure that our neighborhood remains safe and welcoming. The 12th district is a special place to live, work, and play and it’s my intent to keep it that way.
I understand your anxiety, anger, and fear over the recent uptick in violent crime —this is my home too.
I hope that you can use this webpage as a resource to learn about what the state is doing to be smart on crime. There is also information on some actions you can take to help curb the crime epidemic. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any concerns or questions.
– Representative Margaret Croke
Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
69 W. Washington, Chicago, IL 60602
2nd Ward: Alderman Brian Hopkins
1400 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
43rd Ward: Alderman Michele Smith
2523 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614
44th Ward: Alderman Tom Tunney
3223 North Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657
46th Ward: Alderman James Cappleman
4544 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
Below are some of the legislative actions that the Illinois General Assembly and Governor passed in 2021-2022.
HB 1091 – Targeting Retail “Smash and Grabs” (Buckner/Glowiak Hilton)
- Creates the crime of Organized Retail Crime (“ORC”), which aims to address smash and grab thefts from retailers and targets the organizers of retail crime rings.
- Creates the INFORM Act, which sets regulations for online marketplace verification and creates disclosure requirements for third-party sellers.
- Provides that a Statewide Grand Jury may investigate, indict, and prosecute violations of organized retail crime.
- Creates a notice requirement for retailer victims of ORC.
- Creates a fund to assist law enforcement and prosecutors in investigating and enforcing ORC.
Improving Conditions For Policing
HB 1568 – Police Retention and Recruitment Package (Vella/Martwick)
- Lowers the retirement age for select Illinois State Police employees from 60 to 55 years of age.
- Tasks the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and the Illinois Community College Board with creating a report with recommendations to the General Assembly for establishing minimum requirements for credits that may transfer from Illinois colleges to satisfy the requirements of law enforcement and correctional intern courses.
- Allows retiring sheriffs, investigators, security employees, and probation officers to purchase their badge and service firearm.
HB 1571 – First Responder and Shift Worker Child Care (Manley/Glowiak Hilton)
- Creates the Off-Hours Child Care Act, which allows the Department of Human Services (DHS) the flexibility to design an off-hours child care program that meets the needs of first responders and off-hours workers. The implementation date is July 2023 following a DHS study, which is due to the General Assembly in Jan. 2023.
- Recognizes that finding child care is a burden on third shift workers (e.g. firefighters, paramedics, police, nurses, etc.) because most child care centers in Illinois are only open during normal work hours.
HB 1321 – Law Enforcement Mental Health (LaPointe/Hastings)
- Creates a fund and grant program to provide behavioral health services to first responders.
HB 3863 – Law Enforcement Funding (Vella/Morrison)
- Creates the Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Fund to be used by the Illinois Law
- Enforcement Training Standards Board to provide grants to law enforcement agencies for hiring and retention of law enforcement officers.
HB 3699 – Targeting Carjacking (Delgado/Martwick)
- Provides that the Illinois Vehicle Hijacking and Motor Vehicle Theft Preventing and Insurance Verification Council is responsible for providing grants and financial support to assist in the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of hijackers, and the recovery of hijacked and stolen motor vehicles.
- Provides that the Council is responsible for developing and sponsoring the implementation of plans and strategies for combating vehicle hijacking, and to improve the administration of vehicle hijacking laws.
HB 3772 – Protecting Stolen Vehicle Owners from Fines (Delgado/Aquino)
- Provides that a person shall not be liable for violations, fees, fines, or penalties – such as red light tickets – during the period in which the motor vehicle was reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency as stolen or hijacked.
HB 260 – Expanding Highway Camera Use Purposes (A. Williams/Feigenholtz)
- Expands the Expressway Camera Act to include Lake Shore Drive and allows the use of images from the cameras to investigate and prosecute all forcible felonies, including car hijackings and terrorism.
HB 601 – Modernizing Car Burglary Laws (Andrade/Gillespie)
- Updates possession of burglary tool laws to include situations of an individual attempting to steal a vehicle with new technologies – including devices that duplicate a signal from a key fob.
HB 107 – Addressing Catalytic Converter Theft (Ford/Munoz)
- Targets the incentives of catalytic converter theft by creating a paper trail and requiring scrap yards and metal recyclers to review and record the identification of sellers.
- If a seller does not have a Secretary of State issued license identifying them as an automotive parts recycler or scrap processor, the seller will be required to fill out a 1099-MISC tax form by the buyer.
- Prohibits buyers from conducting cash purchases if a catalytic converter is valued at more than$100.
RED FLAG and GUN TRAFFICKING LAWS:
- Illinois is one of the first 17 states to pass red flag laws – essentially a family member or someone else close to the offender can report that said person made a threat to ues a firearm in a illegal manner.
- In 2018 the Illinois General Assembly passed the Firearms Restraining Order Act which allows the petitioner the ability request an emergency firearms restraining order by pleading that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. (2018 HB 2354 Public Act 100-607)
- Also in 2018, the Combating Illegal Gun Trafficking Act and the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act were both passed, requiring each Federal Firearms Licensee to file with the Department of State Police a copy of its license. After the license is reviewed the State Police will issue a certificate of license allowing them to conduct business within the State. Creates the Gun Trafficking Information Act which calls for a regular report on the number of Firearm Owner’s Identification Card checks to determine firearms trafficking or straw purchase patterns. (018 SB 337 Public Act 100-1178)
- In 2021, we passed HB0562 which requires the Illinois State Police and the Department of Human Services to coordinate to report mental health firearm possession prohibitors to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”). Illinois is one of 13 states with full point of contact states where federal firearm licensees (gun sellers) must contact the State for all background checks. The State, in turn, conducts its own firearm background check through the NICS.
This bill requires ISP to continuously monitor state and federal databases for firearms prohibiting records, to correlate those records with FOID card holders, and to revoke the FOID cards of any prohibited persons identified in those continuously monitored databases. It also expands and enhances gun trafficking data reporting requirements under the Gun Trafficking Act and statutes.
HB0562 also incentivizes additional use of fingerprints by allowing the ISP to develop procedures for the voluntary use of pre-existing fingerprint data submitted through other state background check systems. It requires Illinois State Police to establish a public database of all firearms that have been reported stolen to be checked prior to the transfer of any firearm to prevent the inadvertent transfer of stolen firearms.
This was an Illinois State Police initiative and was negotiated between them, the sponsors, Illinois State Rifle Association, and Gun Violence Prevention PAC. (2021 HB 562 Public Act 102-237)
HB 4383 – Stopping Ghost Guns (Buckner/Collins)
- Aims to ban the sale and possession of “ghost guns” by requiring serialization of firearms and gun kits that are not already serialized and are thus, untraceable.
- Provides that it is unlawful to knowingly sell or transfer a firearm or unfinished frame or receiver without a serial number.
- Requires those who currently possess an unserialized firearm or gun kit to get them serialized by a federal firearms manufacturer, federal firearms dealer, or other federal licensee authorized to provide marking service within 180 days of this act taking effect.
HB 4729 – IDPH Gun Safety Campaign (Willis/Morrison)
- Directs the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to initiate a campaign focused on gun safety and gun storage – including public messaging, distribution of gun locks and gun safes, training for health care professionals, and gun buyback opportunities with local law enforcement.
The Safety Act
What the bill does:
- Modernizes sentencing laws.
- Replaces the cash bail system with a new system that detains all dangerous defendants, regardless of their ability to pay.
- Institutes certification & decertification system statewide for police officers.
- Requires the use of body cameras.
- Reforms crowd control response.
- Amplifies law enforcement training standards.
- Prevents destruction of law enforcement misconduct records.
- Connects substance abuse treatment programs with first responder duties.
- Increases and improves de-escalation and mental health training for law enforcement.
- Creates two police misconduct databases for public viewing and transparency.
- Requires police to develop a plan to protect children during search warrant raids.
- Empowers the attorney general to investigate deaths occurring in police custody.
- Addresses officer wellness and mental health awareness and screenings.
- Bans use of chokeholds and other extreme measures.
- Establishes statewide use of force standards by 2022.
What it does NOT do:
- Defund the police.
- Modify or remove qualified immunity protections for police departments.
- Change or take away collective bargaining rights.
- Does not allow those that are charged with a serious offense and are a risk to a person or the community or is a flight risk to be released.
- Does not prevent a judge from revoking pretrial release.
- Does not alter prison time for individuals serving time for heinous crimes.
CRIME - change to “Refinements to The Safety Act”
HB3512 (Slaughter), the first Safe-T Act Trailer, passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor, making it a public act.
This bill promotes a framework for hiring/training for pretrial service agencies in court circuits that do not have pretrial systems in place, clarifies language regarding labelling of body worn camera video, and pushes back the effective date mandatory supervised released provisions. This bill also expands on detainee phone calls, including clarifying the definition of “place of detention”, requiring recordkeeping, and clarifying when a statement made by a person who is detained is inadmissible or admissible. In regards to decertification, this bill delays the effective date, clarifies language, adds members to the Certification Review Panel, and expands on the process.
SB2364 (Slaughter)- SAFE-T Act Trailer
This bill passed the House on the very last day (morning) of Session. We are hoping this is taken up and voted on in the Senate during Veto Session.
If enacted, this bill would create a bipartisan commission that would report to the General Assembly and Governor regarding the implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act. This bill also clarifies and refines language related to when citations may be given, “movement periods”, and pushes back the start dates for the Pretrial Practices Data Oversight Board’s data collection project and the changes to mandatory supervisory release.
HB3904 (Slaughter) passed the House and is currently over in the Senate. If enacted, HB3904 removes any device powered by electrical charging units (tasers and stun guns) from the definition of “firearm”.
Public Safety Funding
- In addition to the $250 million for the Reimagine Public Safety Act, we are adding more than $200 million for additional public safety and law enforcement measures.
- $124 million of this will go to support local police and reduce violent crime.
- This includes funding for body cameras, automatic license plate readers, ballistics testing and forensics, and non-lethal equipment to subdue suspects with less risk to life.
- This also includes funding for mental health screenings for local police departments, funding for a co-responder pilot program, and law enforcement retention grants.
- $48 million is allotted to prevent carjacking – with funding for local safety councils, youth summer jobs programs, YouthBuild Illinois, Teen REACH, Youth Redeploy Illinois, Parents Too Soon, and Comprehensive Community-Based Youth Services.
- $70 million will go towards domestic violence prevention.
$1,400,000 is budgeted to purchase more state of the art cameras and license plate readers for the 18th and 19th Chicago Police Districts.
You can take an active role in helping the Chicago Police Department prevent crime in the neighborhood by attending your police district’s Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meetings.
CAPS – 18th District Chicago Police Department
18th District (Lincoln Park, Old Town, River North, Gold Coast and Streeterville):
Contact info: Please call 312-742-5870 or email at CAPS018District@chicagopolice.org.
CAPS – 19th District Chicago Police Department
19th District (Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Uptown)
All 2nd Ward residents east of the River and north of Fullerton Ave.
Contact info: Please call 312-744-8320 or email at CAPS019District@chicagopolice.org
What You Can Do
Court Advocacy Program
Please consider joining the Court Advocacy Program. Court Advocates are there to support other residents who fall victim to criminal activity in the Ward, and to bring our neighbors together as they show their support.
Court Advocate’s attendance is not only a way for the community to show its support for victims, but also to be heard by the Cook County State’s Attorney. Often times victims may be alone in the court and the presence of community members is a reassurance to individuals who work through the long court proceeding.
Active participation from Court Advocates provides the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office additional evidence that the community demands fair and just sentencing toward individuals who commit crimes in a given neighborhood, and demonstrates to the presiding judge and jury that neighbors support victims at each step of the court proceedings in a criminal case.
The Chicago CAPS offices receive a list of cases the Cook County State’s Attorney is prosecuting and makes recommendations of cases for Advocates to be involved with, Court Advocates may also request to CAPS other cases they’d like to be a part of. The program ensures that our community is able to have a say in the criminal justice system.
How To Call 911
Even though 911 may be the first phone number that many have learned, here are some extra tips to help move your call along.
911 is the emergency line for police, paramedics, and fire departments. It should be used for situations that involve threat to life, bodily injury, and/or major property damage or loss. It’s important to remember to use words such as “in progress” for urgent reach.
311 is the city’s non-emergency line. This number should be used in situations that do not involve a crime in progress or an intermediate threat to life, bodily injury, or major property damage or loss. 311 helps free up phone lines for true emergency calls.
How to describe a suspect:
Features which you can remember regarding the physical characteristics of suspicious persons or assailants can greatly assist your police department in their apprehension.
Homeowners, condominiums, and businesses can link their private exterior cameras with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Establishing this connection mergency Management officials and Homeland Security Directors to help stop and solve crimes.
Interested participants will have to meet certain camera and broadband specifications. Click here to learn more.
At Home: Don’t be Surprised
Keep your doors locked when home alone and lock your windows or access points when leaving your home for any long period of time.
On the Street: Be Alert
Make sure you are not an casy target for crime on the street. Carry your personal items in a
manner that makes them hard to get. For a purse, carry across your chest or under your arm
where more than a simple grab is needed to steal it. Men should carry their wallets in their inside coats or side pants pocket, never in your back pants pocket where it is easy to grab.
On Public Transit: Be Prepared
Have your Ventra card ready before you leave home so that there is no need to open a purse or
wallet. During late night or early morning rides stay near the CTA employee on duty and, when
possible, sit on the aisle seat where you will have more mobility should trouble occur.
In Your Car: Secure Your Ride
Lock your doors and be sure to store your purse, wallet or other valuables beneath your seat –
not on the seat next to you where they are easy and inviting targets for theft. Park in a well-lit area for the safety of your car and yourself and always lock your car. If you notice that the street lights are out, call 311 or the 2nd Ward office at (312) 643-2299.
Going Home: Be Ready
Always carry your keys in your hands so that you are ready to open the door. If you walk to and
from work, particularly at night, use well-lit and populated streets. When possible, walk with
friends and, if you can, vary the route you take each day or night.
Remember– A crime-free city requires that everyone report suspicious activity by calling 911
and report conditions that make crime possible by calling 311. For additional information or to
discuss any issues with staff, please reach out to the 2nd Ward office at (312) 643-2290.
Carjacking Prevention Tips
Brought to you by the Chicago Police Department, Your Partners for Safe neighborhoods.
No one sets out to be the victim of a crime.
Location, Location, Location: Don’t Be Suprised
Certain areas make it easier for carjackers to engage with you. Drivers should be aware of the following frequent carjacking locations;
Anywhere a driver slows down or stops
- Residential driveways (getting in and out of the vehicle)
- Parking lots and garages
- Gas stations
- Intersections with stop lights
Scenarios: Be Aware
Bump and Run
- You are rear ended. A passenger from the vehicle that bumps you jumps into your driver seat when you go to assess the damage and exchange driver information. Note their description and call 911.
- Do Not Stop for apparently stranded strangers along the road. Note their location and call 911.
Safety Tips: Think Ahead:
Always be aware of your surroundings. Make it a habit to enter your car, lock your doors immediately and drive away. Look around for suspicious persons sitting in vehicles or loitering in the area before entering your vehicle. Always;
- Park in well-lit, visible areas
- Keep your windows up and doors locked
- Equip your vehicle with anti-theft/GPS
- Give yourself room to maneuver around stopped traffic. Don’t get ‘boxed’ in
- Keep your cell phone in your pocket
- Trust your instincts
Create a Smart 911 profile and include your vehicle information.
IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF A CARJACKING
- Give up your car and leave the scene.
- The vehicle can be replaced. You are irreplaceable.
- Avoid verbal/physical confrontations.
- Remember the suspect(s)’ description and their vehicle’s description (if they have one).
- If there is a child in the vehicle, let the carjacker know “my child is in the car.”
Call 911 immediately to report the crime.