File Photo – Illinois State Police | Photo via Chicago Police Department

The Illinois State Police say there was a decrease in expressway shootings and homicides in 2022 compared to 2021, which they credited to increased technology efforts and a mobilization of police resources.

The state police said earlier this week that Chicago area expressway shootings dropped 47% in 2022 compared to 2021.

The number of non-fatal injury expressway shootings in the Chicago area was cut in half and the number of expressway homicides decreased by 88%.

“Protecting all Illinoisans, in our schools, in public spaces, and on our expressways, is the most important thing we can do,” Governor JB Pritzker said.

“The scourge of gun violence requires aggressive and intentional action. By taking steps to expand the usage of expressway cameras and hiring additional state police troopers, we’re making sure law enforcement agencies have the resources necessary to effectively respond to criminal activity on our roads,” Pritzker said.

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State police have also performed more than 10,000 additional traffic stops in 2022 compared to 2021 and recovered hundreds more stolen vehicles compared to the prior year, data shows.

ISP’s increased use of technology had a “direct impact” on the ability to target and track criminal activity, officials said.

Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR) capture a visual of vehicle license plates and anytime a wanted or suspected vehicle is detected by an ALPR, an alert is issued to law enforcement.

ISP installed approximately 100 automated license plate readers (ALPRs) along Interstate 94 in 2021.

By the end of 2022, 289 ALPRs were installed along I-94, I-90, I-290, I-294, I-55 and I-57.

ISP says they will continue to install ALPRs on expressways in and around Chicago.

An estimated $20 million is also appropriated for additional ALPRs in 22 counties, which include Cook and surrounding counties.

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“After an unprecedented number of expressway shootings in the Chicago area in 2021, the Illinois State Police mobilized resources agency-wide, including troopers, Air Operations, forensic services, and criminal investigation special agents, which cut the number of expressway shootings in 2022 almost in half,” ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said.

Kelly said the number of guns recovered increased by more than 70% over the past year and the number of stolen vehicles recovered increased by more than 230%.

ISP says they expanded the use of their air operations unit.

“Air operations help make pursuits safer by allowing units on the ground to terminate high speed pursuits while Air Operations continues tracking the fleeing vehicles from the air,” officials said.

The state police say they are also working to strengthen their forensic services and building new laboratories to process evidence.

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