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With at least 185 shootings on Chicago area expressways this year, state police say they’re increasing patrols starting this weekend

There were 128 shootings all of last year, according to the state police.

A man was shot October 17, 2021 on the Kennedy expressway.
Illinois State Police will increase patrols on Chicago area expressways starting Oct. 1, 2021.
Sun-Times file photo

Shootings on Chicago area expressways have risen sharply this year — at least 185 attacks — prompting the state police to increase patrols here with troopers from across Illinois.

The shootings are more than double the 83 reported during the same period last year, according to the Illinois State Police. For the whole year there were 128 attacks.

Troopers from around the state will be relocated to the Chicago area to “increase preventive patrol presence by 157% during peak criminal activity times” starting Friday, state police said.

The increased presence will begin in the evening and continue through overnight shifts.

“We have not previously confronted the concentrated levels of gun violence we have faced in 2020 and 2021,” state police director Brendan F. Kelly said. “We must dedicate the greatest resources to the greatest need, and right now the greatest need is here, on Chicago’s expressways.”

Three separate shootings were reported on area expressways from Wednesday night into Thursday morning. The earliest happened about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Interstate 290 near Kedzie Avenue. A person suffered serious injuries in the incident, state police said.

Another shooting happened about 1:20 a.m. Thursday on Interstate 90 at the Belvidere Oasis, and a third occurred about six minutes later on Interstate 94 at 130th Street. No injuries were reported in either cases, state police said.

Officials announced earlier this year that state police would be getting $12.5 million to install high-definition cameras to help investigate and possibly deter expressway shootings.

Last year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act, which required the state to install new cameras on expressways. Current expressway cameras are low-definition and don’t record video.

The act was named for a postal worker who was shot and killed on her way to work on Interstate 57 in 2019.