Crime becoming a major focus in Illinois' gubernatorial primary

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker defended his party's record on fighting crime, one day after a voter revolt in California unseated a progressive prosecutor.

"We as Democrats have done quite a lot to support our first responders, in particular our police across the state," Pritzker said.

Republican candidates continue to blast the governor for signing a law that, among other things, will abolish cash bail of January 1. They claim it will increase the number of defendants released before trial.

"What he's doing is letting violent criminals back out on the streets into our communities," said Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, candidate for governor.


Irvin spoke after touring a suburban factory with three other members of a Republican primary slate.

For his part, Pritzker cites a letter Irvin wrote to a state lawmaker seeking changes to the criminal justice reform law dubbed the Safety Act.

Pritzker rattled off some items that have been appropriated for local law enforcement.

"Making sure that we're providing funding for body cameras, more funding for police departments. I've increased significantly the number of state police. We've got new state police cadet classes of hundreds of people this year who are going to be added to our state police," Pritzker said.

"We've put cameras across expressways. We're catching some of the bad guys as a result of the work that we're doing on the expressways."

Some Democrats are nervous after voters in ultra-liberal San Francisco tossed out of office prosecutor Chesa Boudin, who grew up in Hyde Park on the South Side.

It was a landslide with more than 60% of voters agreeing with critics who accused Boudin of being too soft on crime.