Shootings prompt Illinois State Police to install license plate cameras on Chicago expressways

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LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 15: A general view of a CCTV camera in Camden on April 15, 2014 in London, England. Privacy campaigners have stated that Town halls in the UK have been using fixed and mobile CCTV cameras to impose parking and traffic fines on members of the public with more than £300M GBP raised from motorists over the past five years. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois State Police announced this week that it has begun installing license plate cameras on Chicago expressways in an effort to track down criminals after an increase of shootings.

“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,” Gov. JB Pritzker said.

State Police received a $12.5 million grant earlier this year to purchase the specialized cameras, which read the license plates of vehicles in traffic.

“This is an important step toward expanding force-multiplying technology we have long needed to protect the public traveling on Chicago expressways,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “These cameras will be an increasingly important tool for the ISP to collect the evidence we need to detect and deter crime on our interstates.”

As of Thursday, there have been 157 shootings on Chicago-area expressways in 2021.

More than 200 license plate cameras from Motorola will be installed over the next year. Police say the images will not be used for petty offenses, such as speeding.

“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).

The Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act (Expressway Camera Act) was signed into law on July 12, 2019 and became effective on Jan. 1, 2020.  Clayton was on her way to work on Feb. 4, 2019 when she was shot and killed while driving on Interstate 57 near Cicero Avenue.  ISP investigators responded and the investigation into her death remains open and ongoing. 

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