Despite a recent shooting on I-57 that killed two teenagers and an infant, Illinois State Police say tactics to reduce gun violence on expressways are working.
A recent state report shows there were 140 shootings in 2022, leading to three deaths, compared to 264 shootings in 2021 with 24 deaths. That’s a 47% decrease in shootings.
“This is a serious challenge we’ve seen emerge all over the country, not just on expressways but throughout the country — a spike in violence that began in 2020 and sort of built increasingly in many parts of the country, including on expressways in 2021,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said. “… We’ve made some major changes to how we operate, and we’re seeing some results of those tactics.”
Some of those tactics include using more state police troopers, special agents and new technology, such as license plate readers.
“That technology is proving to be a real game-changer,” Kelly said. “This is not something that we are using all over the place in terms of traffic enforcement and to be able to write speeding tickets, like some kind of red-light camera or something. We use [it] not just to identify potential suspects and identify offenders but to be able to corroborate reports from victims of gun violence that have occurred on the expressways and also find potential victims. … The evidence is spread out over hundreds of feet, sometimes miles … and sometimes people don’t realize what it is that they saw. So the shell casing may have spread out over a significant distance, the witnesses who may have seen something but kept driving along.”