Expressway shootings down in Chicago for third year in a row: Illinois State Police

The number of Chicago-area expressway shootings has decreased for the third straight year halfway through 2024, according to Illinois State Police.

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The state police reported a 36% decrease in the number of Chicago-area expressway shootings compared to this time last year.

As of June 30, the state police reported 38 shootings on Chicago-area highways, down from 59 a year ago. This year’s figures are down 65% from mid-2021, when the number of attacks spiked to 109.

“Year after year, we have seen a decrease in the number of Chicago-area expressway shootings,” State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly said in a news release. “This year’s reduction, on top of the decreases we’ve seen over the last two years, shows our tactics to reduce violence on the expressway are having an effect. ISP will continue to dedicate the resources needed to help keep the public safe.”

The state police also reported 1,249 shooting arrests this year compared to 794 in 2023. This year, 204 guns have been seized and 283 vehicles recovered.

Expressway shootings surged in 2021 with a yearly total of 263 shootings reported within the city, according to state police data. The number of shootings prompted state police to commit additional resources to curb violence in October 2021.

These tactics included increased patrols, the creation of special operations groups focused on crime reduction, the use of automated license plate readers, increased air operations, investigations and enhanced forensic services.

With the protocols in place, the midyear number of expressway shootings fell to 141 by the end of 2022 and then to 102 by the end of 2023, according to state police data.

Arthur Lurigio, a criminal justice and psychology professor at Loyola University, said the additional resources have helped in reducing the shootings on the expressways.

“It could also be the case that patrols by the state police could have acted as deterents for people considering opening fire on the expressway,” Lurigio said. “The stretches have been controlled heavily since the numbers began to rise.”

Lurigio said there’s “a strong correlation” between shootings in general in the city and shootings on the expressway, which are continuations of violence that occurs on the streets.

“We’ve seen the number of shootings going down, therefore we would expect the number of expressway shootings will also be reduced,” Lurigio said.

The news comes in the wake of a violent Fourth of July weekend with 21 killed and dozens wounded due to gun violence.

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