Sen. Robert Peters

SPRINGFIELD – Receiving strong bipartisan support for many of its proposals, the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus passed over a dozen public safety measures and allocated more than $500 million toward the efforts during the spring legislative session, pegged as their Protecting All Communities plan.

“Everyone in every ZIP code should feel comfortable being able to walk down the street,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “No matter where you are, or who you are or where you live you should deserve to feel comfortable and safe.”

Peters is a strong advocate of finding the root cause of rising crime rates. The Crime Reduction Task Force – which will be created under his House Bill 4736 – will be made up of a bipartisan group of legislators, law enforcement and legal and criminal justice professionals, as well as crime victims and witnesses. The task force will develop a plan of action to reduce crime across the state and report its findings to the General Assembly and the governor.

His measure also creates a Co-Responder Pilot Program in East St. Louis, Peoria, Springfield and Waukegan. The program’s primary focus will be to provide crisis intervention, case management, advocacy and ongoing emotional support to victims of all crimes, particularly to victims of crimes that cause a high level of trauma.

One of the crimes seeing an uptick in cases in recent years is carjackings. Senators passed legislation to crack down on the rise and provide victims with support.

State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) championed House Bill 3772, which will provide protections for victims of carjackings who receive red light or speed camera violations after their vehicle has been hijacked. Under the measure, if a person receives a citation due to one of these camera violations, the court or hearing officer will be able to consider whether the vehicle was hijacked before the violation occurred or the victim not under the control of or possession of the vehicle at the time of violation.

 HB 3772 also allows victims to receive reimbursement for towing and storage fees under the Crime Victims Compensation Act.

Law enforcement officers need additional tools and support to be able to find tangible solutions to reduce carjackings, State Senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) believes. That led him to sponsor House Bill 3699, which expands the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and Insurance Verification Act to include vehicle hijackings.

Under the legislation, the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council – made up of representatives from the insurance industry, state’s attorneys and law enforcement – will be tasked with working together to reduce carjackings. The Council currently provides grant funding to three task forces – comprised of law enforcement and state’s attorneys – which investigate and prosecute motor vehicle threat and similar crimes.

In addition, Martwick’s bill will provide law enforcement with additional resources to coordinate efforts to put a stop to carjackings.

“I am pleased that the General Assembly has taken this step to equip our law enforcement officers with additional ways to protect our communities,” Martwick said. “This measure is a very practical step we can take to address the issue of carjacking and put us one step closer toward addressing this critical public safety issue across our state.”

Under the Illinois Senate Democrats’ Protecting All Communities plan, a Law Enforcement Recruitment and Retention Fund will be created through House Bill 3863 to support departments through the hiring and training process and help retention strategies. The budget included $10,000,000 for this purpose.

“Our law enforcement officers protect and save lives by enforcing our laws and being present in the community,” said State Senator Meg Loughran Cappel (D-Shorewood). “Ensuring they have the support they need to do their jobs will make for a safer community for all.”

Further, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) passed a measure to curb organized retail crime and hold ringleaders accountable. House Bill 1091 defines organized retail crime as a criminal charge and gives prosecutors additional resources to charge crime ringleaders. Specifically, the measure codifies organized retail crime as the theft of retail merchandise with the intent to sell.

“The measure targets individuals stealing for profit, not anyone engaging in petty shoplifting,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Deterring retail crime starts with supporting law enforcement, holding criminals responsible and making it tougher to resell stolen goods.”

The Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus also passed legislation to address organized retail crime, ghost guns, expressway crimes, fentanyl deaths and more. The FY 23 Budget – found within House Bill 900 – also allocated more than $500 million for public safety. For a full list of Protecting All Communities bills passed by the Senate, visit