CHICAGO (CBS) — In response to a rise in shootings on Chicago area expressways, Illinois State Police on Wednesday announced plans to fortify special patrols aimed at reduce the violence.
When someone fired shots at car on the Kennedy Expressway earlier this week, it marked the 26th shooting on a Chicago area expressway this year. There were 19 in 2014, and 16 in 2013.
“Twenty-six is a pretty high number for us, but quite frankly anything above one would be very high,” said Illinois State Police Maj. Luis Gutierrez.
While no one was wounded in the most recent expressway shootings, in 12 other incidents, someone was injured.
State police said they’re beefing up “Operation Ryan’s Hope,” an initiative launched last year to increase overnight patrols, especially on the weekends. Typically there are 16 to 22 troopers on a weekend night shift, but that will grow to 30 to 35, as troopers are reassigned, and help is brought in from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department.
“There is a criminal element, and as law enforcement, we try to do our best to deter that criminal element. The best way to do that is visibility, and that’s our goal. Our goal is to be visible on the interstate system, to let our motorists know we’re out there to help keep them safe,” Gutierrez said.