Our Chicago: ISP hope to deter Chicago expressway shootings with license plate-reading cameras

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Sunday, August 29, 2021
Our Chicago: Curbing expressway shootings with technology, pt. 1
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The first part of our discussion on what new technological tools are being used to help curb shootings on Chicago's expressways.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There have been more than 150 Chicago expressway shootings eight and a half months into the year, some of which has been deadly.

Recently 67-year-old Denise Huguelet was killed when her SUV was caught in crossfire on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

But Illinois State Police now have a new tool to help them find the shooters: 300 specialized cameras that can read license plates, which are being installed on Chicago area expressways.

"We would like them to be extremely worried that they're going to get caught 'cause we would like to deter the shootings on the expressway entirely," said Major Matt Gainer with the Illinois State Police. "They're a challenge or a little bit different than your typical municipality crime in that we don't have people sitting on the porches, we don't have Ring doorbells, we don't have neighborhoods that we can canvas. So what the license plate readers will give us? It will give our investigators a better starting point on who was on the interstate at the time an incident happened. Who we can contact that may have been a victim, a witness."

The cameras are a result of the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act. She was shot and killed on I-57.

State Senator Jacqueline Collins was one of the bill's sponsors,

"We cannot become numb to the daily reality of being at the mercy of gun violence, anywhere at any time. But I think the fact that it's on an expressway is probably the last place you would expect," she said.

And while cameras may help catch or possibly deter shooters, one key question remains: why are these shootings happening?

"If you pay attention to the geography of this and the police have mapped all of the incidents of expressway shootings, they invariably are adjacent to high crime areas. So there's a spillover of violence that happens on the street," said Loyola University professor of Psychology and Criminology Dr. Arthur Lurigio.