Caught on video: Could security cameras help curb freeway shootings in Michigan?

Posted at 2:02 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 18:25:53-05

(WXYZ) — With the rise of recent freeway shootings, people across metro Detroit are concerned about the safety of our roads. In fact, according to Michigan State Police, there were a total of 67 freeway shootings last year, of which 5 were fatal.

Law enforcement says one of the biggest reasons behind the increase of such incidents is that people have become more brazen over the years. So how do we make our roads safer? How do we let criminals know that no one is above the law?

Michigan's highways stretch to about 2,300 miles and lately, the roads have become dangerous not because of speeding cars but because of flying bullets.

A video taken on January 7 of this year shows Michigan State Police investigating a shooting on I-75. And two weeks later, police were tackling another shooting, this time along the Southfield Freeway in Detroit.

MSP data shows freeway shootings across metro Detroit have increased sharply over the years. In fact, of the 67 shootings that took place last year, 51 were in Detroit.

That’s why a frequent driver, Sherry Taylor, says she is concerned. "It needs to stop, it needs to cease," said Taylor.

Former Detroit Police Department Assistant Chief Steve Dolunt says this is a dangerous trend that needs to be tackled.

"Criminals are making a lot of mistakes thinking the police are not going to pursue these types of crimes," said Dolunt.

Security expert Anthony Sharpy says security cameras are one way to fight the trend.

"Once the local community knows that these types of systems are out there, they would be more hesitant to do some of those things," said Sharpy.

MDOT does have cameras on the freeways. In fact, MDOT’s Kimberley Webb says in southeast Michigan there are a total of 337 cameras.

"Yeah the camera just takes still images and it's not the full system that we record information," said Webb.

Another problem with the cameras: they are way too high and don’t capture driver or vehicle details.

"It's not so much the cost of the cameras and the system, it's the cost of the data," said Webb.

MDOT cameras were installed back in the 1980s and since then, technology has evolved.

"There are thermal cameras, so even in the worst conditions, it can still detect what you need, there is high-powered pan tilt zoom cameras, so even though these cameras are deployed high heights, with the resolution improvements, they can zoom in," said Sharpy.

As for storage, these latest cameras can also record directly to SD Cards.

And just to give you an idea, on a 256GB card, a video with a standard definition of 720p and 10fps you can get 30 days of storage. Plus, newer cameras also have features like facial recognition and even the ability to set trigger moments like when a vehicle stops unexpectedly.

"You can put search terms, 'show me a male with blue jeans and a red shirt,' or 'show me a white truck' and anywhere within the recorded history those criteria match, it will bring up the recorded clips," said Sharpy.

Now Kimberley says MDOT and Detroit police have discussed ways of expanding and upgrading security cameras, but so far there have been no developments.