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South suburban mayors think lack of cameras on I-57 are partially to blame for expressway shootings

Push launched for cameras on expressways in south suburbs 02:46

COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, Ill. (CBS) -- In the last few years, we have reported extensively on shootings on Chicago area expressways.

In response to the danger, Illinois State Police have installed new real-time camera technology in the city. But they are nowhere to be found in the south suburbs, and some leaders there say they feel slighted – even left out. They also fear that people firing guns on their expressways are fully aware that the cameras are absent.

Interstate 57 is a main corridor for those living in the south suburbs. The drive on it is leaving people living south of the city uneasy.

"We've had a mom to be shot on I-57 here," said Country Club Hills Mayor James W. Ford.

Ford is among a group of 16 Southland mayors who meet monthly. They are fed up with the expressway shootings moving out of Chicago and into their communities.

It is all leaving them asking – what about the south suburbs when it comes to cameras to catch highway shooters?

"I've been asking that question for long time, because it looks like once you get past 111th Street, that's where the shootings occur," Ford said.

So far this year, there have been eight shootings along I-57. Last year, that stretch heading south saw a total of 39.

Consider this – there were a total of 14 shootings on the same stretch for the whole year just three years ago.

This is why the mayors of Country Club Hills and Markham say they need the same quick response from Illinois State Police for cameras – just like Chicago expressways.

"We need them yesterday," said Markham Mayor Roger Agpawa.

"We don't want to wait five, 10 years from now," added Ford. "We want it today."

They believe the shooters know where the cameras are, and they wait to shoot now until they hop onto I-57.

"The Southland is a place where people are getting comfortable," Agpawa said.

"They know that once they get passed a certain point on I-57, that they can feel free to do what they want to do," Ford added.

State Police have plans to install 200 more cameras, but they won't say when or where.

"We're trying to get it done quicker," said Illinois state Sen. Mike Hastings (D-Frankfort).

Hastings is working to help move along the process – and it's personal for him too.

"I've lost my neighbors to senseless shootings," he said.

Hastings' neighbor, Denise Huguelet, was killed back in August while leaving a White Sox game along the Dan Ryan Expressway.

"A lot of shooters come south, and it's time to hold them accountable," Hastings said, "and cameras are the right way to do that.

The hope is with the support of local and state leaders, the suburban mayors can move the request along swiftly to get the cameras on I-57. They want to see the cameras mounted before the weather warms up, and consequently, shootings ramp up.    

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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