Illinois rest stops get cameras

Illinois is going hi-tech and low privacy at its roadside rest stops. The state is spending $4 million to install security cameras and emergency call boxes. This will be the first state in the nation to do so.

There are 53 rest stops on the state’s highway system. This program will allow anyone with a safety problem to contact state police immediately.

At the same time, it will permit police surveillance of activities at the rest stops at any time they choose. The equipment could come into play in the event of an abduction, a fugitive on the loose, or any suspicious activity.

Mike Monseur, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said: “It adds peace of mind. We want to make sure that Illinois roads remain safe, and this is one way to do it.”

Cameras will be installed at rest stops on interstate highways, both inside and outside. Call boxes will be installed outside. If a person feels threatened, he or she need only push a button which alerts authorities and sends them pictures from that camera.

Rest stops are utilized by 33 million people annually. Monseur said most crimes at these locations are either drug deals or prostitution. Violent crimes are unusual, he said.

The first cameras will be installed soon at Pontiac and Peotone. Signs will warn that police may be watching, and actions are being recorded. The cameras operate continuously.

Your next rest stop may be a Kodak moment.

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