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Hundreds Of Cameras On Expressways Don't Record Footage, Even For Violent Crimes

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There have been 13 shootings on area expressways so far this year.

Yet, as CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory reports, the Chicago area's most crowded roads are no man's land when it comes to surveillance footage.

The first expressway shooting of 2019 happened barely 24 hours after the New Year. Just this week, gunfire hit two more people, separately, on the same stretch of Interstate 57.

The incident log of the shootings from the past three years is long. Each one leaves highways at a standstill. Eventually, investigations stall, too.

A CBS 2 records request reveals Illinois State Police close almost all expressway shootings cases and make just two or three arrests a year.

Activist Andrew Holmes is fed up with highway homicides and wonders why what might seem like an obvious resource for Illinois State Police goes unused. None of the 600 traffic cameras actually record video.

"If they can get those images, then they can solve some of these cases," Holmes said. "If they can get a facial recognition or they can get a tattoo off the neck, a tattoo off the chin, tattoo off the hand, it can help identify that person."

CBS 2 contacted transportation departments in Illinois and elsewhere to see whether their equipment could do that.

Turns out none of these states have recording capabilities.

A representative for North Carolina's Department of Transportation said ''the storage cost would be prohibitive.'' For example, ff that state's 900 cameras kept video for just one week, they would need to store 151,200 hours of footage.

Anthony Incorvati of Axis Communications suspects that price is only part of the equation.

His experience selling surveillance camera systems leads him to a different theory about why states don't tape their live feeds.

"The core issue may be liability," he said. "If there is an incident, fender bender what have you, then the [state transportation departments] can become inundated with requests."

In Illinois, a bill introduced in the statehouse would increase the number of cameras on Cook County that would capture images. That footage would only be used to investigate serious offenses and to detect road hazards.

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