Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Michael Hogan, Judge Presiding.
 The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Burke
 Defendants Jon and Brenda Myers appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County denying their motion to transfer plaintiffs Diane and Patrick Allee's negligence action to Stephenson County on the basis of forum non conveniens.*fn1 On September 12, 2003, we granted defendants' petition for leave to appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(2). On appeal, defendants contend that the trial court abused its discretion in denying their motion to transfer because the private and public interest factors heavily weigh in favor of transferring this cause to Stephenson County. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse and remand with directions.
 On August 1, 2002, plaintiffs filed their negligence complaint against defendants and co-defendant in Cook County. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants owned property located at 7 East Stephenson Street, Freeport, Illinois. Defendants leased the second floor to the Stephenson County Assault and Abuse Services. Diane was employed by this entity. Plaintiffs further alleged that defendants leased the third floor to co-defendant, a twice-convicted felon. According to the complaint, on January 2, 2001, co-defendant, armed with a weapon, abducted Diane from her office on the second floor and forced her to his third floor apartment where he repeatedly sexually assaulted her. Thereafter, with the weapon, co-defendant forced Diane to accompany him to Chicago. Plaintiffs further alleged that on the evening of January 2, co-defendant took Diane to the Lincoln Hotel in Chicago where he again repeatedly sexually assaulted her. Plaintiffs also alleged that defendants were negligent with respect to their premises in one or more of the following ways:
 "a. Failed to notify tenants such as the Stephenson County Assault and Abuse Services that they had leased to a felon convicted of violent crimes such as [co-defendant];
 b. Failed to take reasonable precautions to warn tenants and others lawfully upon the premises of the Stephenson Street property they had actual knowledge of [co-defendant's] violent criminal background;
 c. Allowed a third floor tenant such as [co-defendant] free access to the common areas of the second floor such as the Stephenson County Assault and Abuse Services;
 d. Failed to inquire after entering into a rental agreement with [co-defendant] failed to inquire with other tenants prior to January 2, 2001, regarding [co-defendant's] activities or interactions with other tenants;
 e. Failed to take any precautions whatsoever for the security of other tenants who worked at the premises after leasing to a known violent felon."
 According to plaintiffs, as a proximate result of these negligent acts, Diane was abducted at gunpoint by co-defendant and repeatedly sexually assaulted in Freeport and Chicago.
 On September 12, defendants filed an answer and a motion for change of venue to Stephenson County. On November 4, while the motion for change of venue was still pending, defendants filed a motion to transfer based on forum non conveniens. On November 13, plaintiffs filed their answers to interrogatories, in which they admitted that no Cook County law enforcement personnel investigated the sexual assault, no Cook County State's Attorney investigated the matter, Diane did not obtain any medical treatment in Cook County, and a criminal complaint was filed against co-defendant in Stephenson County. Plaintiffs identified two witnesses from Cook County, one an employee of the Lincoln Hotel and another an employee of a pancake house in Chicago.
 On March 26, 2003, defendants filed their memorandum in support of their motion for transfer based on forum non conveniens, arguing that the private and public interest factors strongly favored transfer of the cause to Stephenson County. On April 18, defendants filed their answers to venue interrogatories in which defendants stated that co-defendant did not have a lease, co-defendant did not fill out an application, and co-defendant did not pay a security deposit. Defendants also admitted that Jon had accompanied co-defendant to Chicago on December 22, 2000.
 On May 15, plaintiffs filed their response to defendants' motion to transfer, arguing that Cook County had a significant connection to their lawsuit because the weapon used to abduct Diane was purchased in Chicago and there were four witnesses who would testify with respect to not only the purchase of the weapon, but in connection with the events that transpired in Chicago. On May 27, defendants filed their reply. On June 24, the trial court denied defendants' motion to transfer. This appeal followed.
 Initially, we address an issue raised by defendants in their reply brief. Defendants argue that plaintiffs have misstated the facts and have included factual allegations that are not supported by the record. Specifically, plaintiffs assert that: (1) defendants rented the apartment to co-defendant free of charge; (2) Jon traveled with co-defendant to Chicago in violation of co-defendant's parole; and (3) Jon traveled with co-defendant to Chicago to purchase the weapon. According to defendants, none of these allegations are supported by the record and they are highly inflammatory and offensive. Although defendants acknowledge that, in their answers to interrogatories, Jon admitted traveling to Chicago one time with ...