Illinois State Police add more resources to combat Chicago-area carjackings

The Illinois State Police is bolstering efforts to combat carjackings, allocating additional resources in response to a surge in vehicle thefts.

The agency is using $10 million in grant funding from the Illinois Secretary of State, aimed at enhancing law enforcement capabilities. The funds contribute to aerial surveillance, with helicopters patrolling Chicago-area expressways to monitor and track stolen vehicles.

The grant, awarded in March 2023, also supports increased ground patrols, investigations, and the technology required to address carjackings and auto thefts effectively.

Statistics reveal a notable impact on crime. From January through March of this year, law enforcement recovered 274 vehicles, made 31 arrests, and seized 28 illegal firearms.

Colonel Chris Owen, of the Illinois State Police Division of Patrol, emphasized the swift response to incidents.

"As soon as those vehicles come anywhere near our expressways, one of our state troopers becomes immediately aware of that, and we're able to very precisely track that vehicle down, either by the air with our airplanes, or with some of our special investigative techniques and, or, the use of a license plate reader technology. And what we will do is we will find that vehicle and we will engage that vehicle or the suspects in that vehicle in a manner to safely take them into custody and remove them from hopefully committing additional crimes," Owen said.

The state has seen a marked decline in expressway shootings, with a 60 percent reduction from 2021 to the present.