Illinois expressway shootings down in 2022: state police

Expressway shootings in Illinois are down 36 percent compared to this time last year, according to Illinois State Police.

The alarming rise in expressway shootings during the pandemic was something ISP was working to change, and on Thursday, officials said they are seeing signs of success.

To date this year, there have been 84 expressway shootings in the state. Between January 1 and July 21 of last year, there were 132 expressway shootings.

In addition to decreased shootings, homicides from expressway shootings are also down – 90 percent over last year. One person has been killed in an expressway shooting this year, compared to 10 last year.

"They are bending the curve, we’re seeing a reduction in crime," said Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. "We’re not satisfied with where we’re at, but we’re glad we’re heading in the right direction."


Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said the change comes, in part, as a result of enhanced technology.

"Particularly the automated license plate readers," said Kelly.

Those license plate readers help track criminals in real time – on the ground and in the air.

"Being able to see where they may be located on the expressways, when they move back and forth on the expressways – correlating that information also to our pilots in our air patrols," said Kelly.

The decrease in expressway shootings, Kelly said, can also be credited to a more unified response on the ground and in the air, and by zeroing in on specific areas of the state.

In October of last year, ISP created its Chicago Anti-Violence Detail, mobilizing up to 110 additional state troopers per month in Cook County.

"What we've done is brought in extra personnel from other patrol districts across the state, we rotate them in, they do some time there to help out the officers we have in that area to add to the presence that's on the expressways," said Kelly. "That's a deterrent effect. That's an effect in terms of being able to identify criminal activity that's moving up and down the expressways."

More eyes on the state's expressways have also led to more traffic stops, gun seizures, arrests, and vehicles recovered this year compared to last year.

ISP is also focusing on efforts behind the scenes, including hiring additional forensic analysts. ISP is in the process of building new two laboratories – one in Decatur and another in Joliet.

Kelly said those added resources will help cut down turnaround time for processing evidence, which is crucial in solving crimes.