CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s an all too familiar scene — troopers checking Chicago expressways for casings after gunmen open fire on drivers.
So far in 2019, there have been 24 shootings on the expressways. Six of those cost more than $66,000 total.
In March, CBS 2 discovered only 10 people had been arrested in more than 160 cases of gunfire on Illinois expressways since 2016. This is partially because investigators can’t actually review footage from live-streaming cameras along the roads.
IDOT says recording is cost-prohibitive. But two weeks ago, a proposal to increase surveillance technology passed in the Illinois House and Senate. And around the same time, about 20 federally-funded cameras with a price tag of about $500,000 were installed on the Eisenhower. They’re equipped with license plate readers and have the ability to record and store video for 30 days at a time.
Illinois State police say this could be a game changer.
“The installation of these cameras will be a great tool to assist with not only solving expressway shootings but also serious crimes such as narcotics trafficking,” said Major Robert Meeder of the Illinois State Police.
It’s no coincidence the camera program is starting on the Eisenhower also dubbed “Heroin Highway”. Trained personnel from OEMC, law enforcement and the DEA will be able to access the video, which could be a useful tool in securing criminal convictions.
“These dealers rely on intimidation to keep those living here on the West Side from calling the police, but cameras cannot be intimidated,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said.
In case you’re wondering, the cameras are not equipped with technology to catch speeding drivers. They’re hope to expand the surveillance program to other highways in the future.