Will cameras on Chicago’s freeways help deter shootings? | Chicago News



Eastbound traffic was temporarily closed Monday afternoon on I-290 near California Avenue after a freeway shooting resulted in the displacement of two gunshot victims to hospital, according to police. the State of Illinois.

This was the 159th Chicago-area highway shooting so far in 2021.

It is possible that a camera captured what happened.

Illinois State Police announced on Friday that they were starting to install license plate reading cameras along highways in the Chicago area, at a cost of $ 12.5 million.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly on Friday called the cameras “an important step towards expanding the force multiplication technology we have long needed to protect the traveling public. Chicago’s freeways “and” an increasingly important tool for the ISP to collect the evidence we need to detect and deter crime on our freeways.

The shootings on the highways exploded. In 2018 and 2019, there were approximately 43 and 52 shootings, respectively. In 2020, that figure has risen to 128, with 71 shootings at this point last year.

So far this year, Illinois State Police have reported 158 freeway shootings.

(WTTW News)

While Chicago is not alone in experiencing a recent spike in crime, Chicago Loyola University criminologist Arthur Lurigio said Chicago is an outlier when it comes to highway shootings.

“Big cities have not experienced the same phenomena. I’ve spoken to police chiefs across the country about this because I’m working on trying to come up with a plan to help Chicago solve its abuse problem. And it seems to be unique. And I mean the single word, ”Lurigio said.

Lurigio said he didn’t know why this was happening.

“The Eisenhower Freeway is a place where people come from all over Chicago and beyond to buy drugs. Get off the highway, back up, go home, ”he said. “It could be related to why these arteries that line the highway have been a high crime rate, high traffic and places of potential conflict and the highway is nearby. And if they move these conflicts off the streets, they can move them onto the highway.

It offers possibilities. Due to the ease of entering and exiting highways, criminals may find it easier to evade the police. It could be that in a subculture of violence, highway shootings have become normative. It can be part of a vicious cycle: sections of motorway adjoin areas with high drug crime rates. A conflict in the streets of the neighborhood can extend to the highway.

“This is a largely new phenomenon,” said DePaul transportation expert Joe Schwieterman. “It’s frustrating because there are no clear causes and no clear solutions. And it plays out that this happens mostly in high crime areas and this kind of play makes people fear that getting into town is risky just by being on the freeway. It really worsens the image problems of our city. It requires immediate attention.

In mid-August, Denise Huguelet, a retired special education teacher, 67, was shot and killed on the Dan Ryan on her way home from a White Sox game.

According to Illinois State Police, the most highway shootings this year – 51 – took place on the Dan Ryan (I-90/94).

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Not counting Monday’s shooting, this year saw 35 shootings on the Eisenhower (I-290), 25 shootings on the Bishop Ford (I-94), 16 on the Stevenson (I-55) and 18 on the I- 57.

Tamara Clayton was driving to work along I-57 in February 2019 when she was shot and killed.

A law passed in his memory (605 ILCS 140 / Public law 101 -0042) requires state police, transportation and toll highway services to add cameras to Cook County highways.

The law entered into force in January 2020 and the authority expires in July 2023.

Given the increase in shootings, there have been criticisms of the delay.

State Representative Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, a sponsor of the law, said the state needs to assess the bids (Motorola was selected) and fiber optic cables need to be installed so that the video is of the best possible quality.

He also says that the plan originally did not include automatic license plate reading. On the recommendation of the state police, this is now part of it.

He’s under no illusions that this will stop the highway shootings altogether, but has said it will be a tool.

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

“Some of the things I want to get out of this are increased patrols and increased capture of people shooting at our highways, and then hopefully we’ll see a reduction in gunfire on the highway. This is my hope, ”Jones said.

Ed Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is open to seeing the law as a tool, although he’s skeptical of how often cameras really deter crime or catch criminals.

“What really solves the crimes is, you know, human resources and human intelligence,” Yohnka said.

If cameras are to be part of law enforcement’s arsenal, he said controls must be in place before they become invasive surveillance tools that capture information about those who commit violent acts. as well as countless others.

“Every day thousands of people walk up and down the Dan Ryan Highway. They go to work, they go to school, they go to church, ”Yohnka said. “They’re doing all kinds of things that the government doesn’t need to follow them and doesn’t need to know where they are at. When I know where someone is, when I know where they’re going and what they’re going, that tells me a lot about that person.

The Expressway Camera Act has certain limitations.

The law specifies that the cameras should only be used by law enforcement and for the investigation of offenses involving firearms or “to detect the dangers of highways”, and that they cannot be used for “minor” infractions, such as speeding.

Yohnka says these are heartwarming restrictions – but he still has questions.

He wonders what will be done with the video footage for the periods when there is no accident, shooting or other event.

“Are the data for that day erased?” Where is it maintained? How long is it maintained? Could someone go back and use it again for other purposes? Are there rules in place as to who has access to it? And what if someone breaks these rules? Yohnka asked.

The Illinois State Police did not immediately come up with the guidelines and protocols they use; WTTW News has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to collect these details.

Jones said the privacy concerns are not valid.

He said the ACLU was not involved in the negotiations and that its intention was only to try to reduce gun crime on highways.

“They should read the bill and as a rights organization, what about the rights of victims who are killed and shot on the highway? Jones said.

Lurigio is not sure whether the cameras will minimize the eruption of highway gunfire, but said adding the technology over recent data would serve as a sort of experiment.

“It’s reasonable to assume that the cameras will make a difference, but it’s not possible to respond until we get data,” he said.

Of the 158 shootings this year – before no later than Monday afternoon – there have been 10 arrests or charges, state police said.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.