State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) was appointed to the newly-created bipartisan Crime Reduction Task Force to propose solutions to the state’s rising crime rates.
“Our district runs along a key border of Cook County as well as critical transport corridors. Our residents have witnessed the rise in carjackings, retail theft, burglaries, and a previously unthinkable shooting at Oak Brook mall,” Rep. Mazzochi said. “I hear it every day talking with our district residents—they are rightfully concerned and deserve to feel safe in their neighborhoods and homes. Prior Springfield legislation made our district less safe. Governor Pritzker signed legislation to impose failed Cook County policies on the entire state through the so-called SAFE-T Act, which fully kicks in January 1, 2023. We need to move forward, not backwards. To do that we need to get rid of the perverse incentives that recruit juveniles into crime, and get serious about targeting violent repeat offenders.”
A September 2021 survey from Safewise found that 64% of Illinoisans worry about crime daily, with 56% worried about violent crime and only 42% feeling it is safe to live in Illinois.
Rep. Mazzochi explained, “the majority party passed the SAFE-T Act at 3 a.m. during a lame duck session last year. Now they are hearing from their residents, who are also not happy. Rushed legislation even with good intentions can produce negative unintended consequences. It is time to get it right and give more, not less, consideration to the negative consequences from legislation that affect public safety.”
The Crime Reduction Task Force includes legislators, law enforcement, and legal and criminal justice professionals, as well as crime victims and witnesses. The task force must present its recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor by March 1st of next year.
“My hope is that Democrats on this committee take this seriously and not only propose real solutions to tackling crime, but see them through the legislative process, as opposed to what happened with the 2019 Property Tax Relief Task Force,” Mazzochi noted. In 2019, the Illinois General Assembly raised gas and other taxes in exchange for a promise to reduce property taxes through task force recommendations. The unusually large task force had 80 members, including Rep. Mazzochi, but the majority party never filed a final report of recommendations with the Illinois General Assembly as required by law. Republicans proposed over 30 different tax-reducing proposals, which Democrats refused to consider.
Rep. Mazzochi finished by saying, “As a member of the House Judiciary-Criminal committee, I was incredibly disappointed this spring when the committee ignored legislation to protect the rights of victims or even to prevent the further escalation of crime. I will do everything in my power to make sure this task force has its priorities straight.”