Startling data shows just how common Chicagoland expressway shootings have become

ByBarb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones and Chuck Goudie WLS logo
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
How common are expressway shootings across Chicagoland?
Since 2019, there have been 868 expressway shootings across Illinois, most of them in metro Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicagoland expressways have become shooting zones over the past five years.

Since 2019, there have been 868 expressway shootings across Illinois, most of them in metro Chicago. The dangerous drives are from north to south and east to west.

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So far this year, there have been 42 expressway shootings. An I-Team analysis finds that is a significantly reduced number from last year.

But just last Friday, I-55 became the latest in a stretch of expressway gunfire that has left motorists and passengers shaken, wounded and sometimes dead.

Expressway shootings are such a problem in Illinois that the state police have created a dashboard of data just to track the numbers, timing, dates, details and mortality statistics.

On that site there is a startling visual reinforcement of how common expressway shootings have become.

The map of Chicagoland expressways with shooting incidents are data-marked in red. They are pockmarks of pain and suffering.

Each one is a separate shooting incident the past five years -so many that only a few short stretches have been without a shooting.

According to Illinois State Police data, the most dangerous drive is I-94 also known as the Dan Ryan, where 206 shootings have been tracked since 2019.

The I-290 or Eisenhower Expressway, named for a past president who was the father of the nation's interstate system, is next at 136 shootings.

The ISP dashboard also suggests when shootings are most likely to occur.

Sunday is the most frequent expressway shooting day with Friday and Saturday close behind.

As the I-Team reported more than two years ago, ISP installed 99 new license plate reading cameras along the Dan Ryan in an effort to track those who opened fire on the most dangerous expressway. Nearly 200 others are in use along other expressways.

Illinois State Police director Brendan Kelly has touted the importance of license plate readers that ISP now says leads to a suspect in eight of every 10 expressway shootings of any kind.

State police officials say that their current success rate in identifying the shooters in fatal expressway attacks is now at 100%.

But not everyone applauds the tool.

A new lawsuit this month accuses state officials of operating unconstitutional "dragnet surveillance."

The suit, demanding reader cameras be shut down, was filed by two Chicago residents and the Liberty Justice Center.