Cook County State's Attorney candidates outline crime strategies

The candidate likely to succeed Kim Foxx as Cook County State's Attorney will be the one to convince voters that they are tougher on crime.

On Tuesday, the front-runners laid out their visions for a safer Chicago.

Democratic candidate for Cook County State's Attorney Eileen O'Neill Burke detailed her safety plan for the future, beginning with a new approach to tackling illegal firearms.

"I want to form a regional gun task force. We need to cut off the supply," she said.

Former Chicago Alderman and Burke's Republican challenger Bob Fioretti believes fighting crime in a city weary of violence requires a more straightforward approach.

"How many commissions do we need? Those who have guns in their hands illegally must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

At the heart of Burke's safety plan, restorative justice for juveniles looks beyond rehabilitation for offenders after they have committed a crime.

"I want to front-load resources in juvenile court and make sure somebody is checking them in at 8:30 in the morning to school," Burke said.

Burke, who gave up her seat on the bench of the Illinois Appellate Court to run for State's Attorney, believes the key to reversing the tide of carjackings and smash-and-grabs at the hands of youth offenders is keeping would-be offenders occupied after school.

"The vast majority of juveniles get arrested between 3:30 and 10 o'clock at night. That's when we're going to keep them busy, and that's where I need your help," Burke said.

Fioretti agrees that more needs to be done to keep idle hands busy, but he also believes there are limits to what prosecutors can and should do.

"Mediation is good in a small school setting, but she's talking about mediation in all the crimes, restorative justice; are rapists going to sit with victims? Are murderers going to sit with the victims’ families?" Fioretti said.

Burke and Fioretti will take on Libertarian candidate and tax attorney Andrew Charles Kopinski in the November general election.