The Illinois State Police (ISP) says that that they are working with transportation officials to install license plate reader camera systems on Chicago area roadways in response to a large number of recent shootings.
On August 20, ISP announced that installation of the camera systems had begun on Chicago expressways in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).
Over the next year, officials will work to install more than 200 license plate reader cameras in Chicago.
ISP says that the cameras will not be used in the enforcement of minor infractions like speeding.
Police say that the new camera systems will aid in the investigation into expressway shootings.
As of August 20, there had been 157 reported shootings on Chicago expressways. At least three more victims were added to that tally with expressway shootings reported on August 22 and 24. A 29 year old male motorist passed away from his injuries after he was shot on I-290 on Sunday. Another person inside the 29 year old male’s car died from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash that occurred after the man was shot.
A total of 128 expressway shootings were reported in Chicago in 2020, and 52 were reported in 2019, according to 5 Chicago.
“This investment in expressway cameras further strengthens the Illinois State Police’s ability to hold violent offenders accountable and fulfill our mission to help all Illinois residents live safely,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our roadways should be connections between communities, not crime scenes, and the ISP will offer the additional support necessary to local law enforcement in Chicago to protect traveling residents.”
The camera system was purchased through a $12.5 million grant following the passage of the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act in 2019. The law was named for a woman who was fatally shot on February 4, 2019, while driving to work on I-57. The investigation into Clayton’s death is ongoing.
“Increasingly, we’ve seen shootings throughout the Chicagoland expressways, and I am glad that we will now have the access to technology that will aid in the investigation of expressway shootings,” said State Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey). “With these innovations, I hope many crimes are solved and brought to justice, so that the victims’ families may know peace.”
In March 2021, Chicago also began an aggressive camera-based speed enforcement campaign that mails citations to drivers who are caught on video doing as little as 6 m.p.h. over the speed limit.