EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A new crime task force will focus on preventing crime from, “flowing across the river into Madison County.” State’s Attorney Tom Haine also says that representatives from federal, state, local law enforcement will meet to stop people from using the highways to cross state lines to commit crimes.
Haine said his citizens are being invaded by criminals from Missouri who break the law and then flee back across the river.
He said cases come across his desk all the time that involve Missourians who steal cars, rob and kill people in Madison County.
Haine added, “Every single police chief in Madison County told me this is a major problem across the county.”
Haine indicated hundreds of citizens from all walks of life tell them they’re frightened and want something done.
Haine has created a task force made of local, state and federal agencies to tackle the problem.
It appears citizens welcome the plan. Jeffery Hall, a crime victim, said, “It was a feeling of violation I really kind of felt there was nothing I can do.”
Hall’s car was stolen last year and taken to Missouri. He supports Haine’s task force. Hall added, “For us to preserve the safety of all the people who live here would be great.
“It’s gotta be stopped wherever it is,” said Madison County resident Karen O’Koniewski
There are concerns a sweeping anti-crime program could lead to racial profiling. Hall said, “I would actually hope it wouldn’t be a profile I would hope we would use our energy to find the actual find those individuals.” O’Koniewski said, “I wouldn’t want it to turn into profiling.”
“Racism is evil and we need to move beyond but we can’t lose track of the fact we have to stop crime… if I see any type of racial animus or profiling or bias it will end right there.”
Haine said it’s the poor who are preyed upon the most by the criminals. He plans to show suspects in no uncertain terms they are not wanted here in Madison County. The task force gathers for the first time Friday with the hope of finding practical solutions that can be put in place by this summer.