CHICAGO - It's no secret that violence on Chicago area expressways has skyrocketed.
Illinois State Police troopers responded to 264 Cook County expressway shootings last year.
That is double the amount in 2020 — at 128 shootings.
Now, they are one step closer to solving those crimes.
Since the fall, 99 cameras have been strategically placed along the Dan Ryan Expressway.
ISP was given $12.5 million last year under the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act.
The act was named in honor of a victim killed on her way to work in 2019 while driving on Interstate 57. There was no video to capture what happened.
Now, ISP Director Brendan Kelly says one third of the automated license plate leaders are operational, with plans to add 200 more to Chicago area expressways.
The data is instant and can be relayed to boots on the ground — enabling troopers to track and pursue criminals.
Just this month, a vehicle taken in a carjacking entered the Dan Ryan.
The license plate was detected, troopers were alerted, and three suspects were taken into custody.
A day later, state police caught an armed suspect driving a car involved in an expressway shooting.
"We can see in areas where we are having a higher presence where we are using this technology, and we are pairing that with troopers on the street," said Director Kelly.
Last year from Jan. 1 to Jan 26, troopers made two carjacking arrests — compared to 12 this year.
Last year, 22 stolen vehicles were recovered — this year: 34.
In 2021,there were 14 shootings — this year: 12.
These stats include all Chicago area expressways — excluding tollways.
Director Kelly says 2022 will bring added safety measures — like more cameras and more troopers.
"We have more troopers out here on these expressways in Chicagoland than we have had in a long time, and we're going to keep adding to those numbers," said Director Kelly.
Go to illinoistrooper.com if you are interested in joining the next cadet class.