Suburban prosecutor: ‘tough on crime’ stance curbs violence plaguing other communities

WGN Investigates

When Melvin Lewis was charged with using a knife to rob a Naperville Dollar Tree store of $60 some were surprised a judge set his bond at $1.5 Million.  The homeless man will have to post 10% of that amount to go free while he awaits trial.

The high bond and stiff charges are emblematic of the approach DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and many judges in the county take to fighting crime and is in sharp contrast to Cook County’s top prosecutor and judges who have been criticized by Chicago’s mayor and top cop for turning loose people accused of violent crimes.   

DuPage County has had 8 murders so far this year, compared to 6 in each of the two prior years.  While DuPage has less than half the population of the Cook County suburbs, the difference in murders is striking. WGN Investigates analyzed medical examiner data to determine there have been 204 homicides in suburban Cook County this year, a 34% increase over last year and 55% hike from 2019.

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