Tattler exclusive: CTA crime drops slightly in 2009 over 2008

Crime on the CTA in 2009 dipped 2.3% in 2009 compared to 2008, CTA Tattler found in an exclusive review of public crime stats in Chicago. This is a small bit of good news in an otherwise gloomy month for CTA riders.

There were 5,075 criminal acts on CTA vehicles, stations, bus stops and properties in 2009, a slight drop of 122 crimes compared with the 5,197 reported in 2008.

In an exhaustive review of Chicago CTA crime stats from EveryBlock Chicago, CTA Tattler found crime had dropped in 2009 in eight of 11 major crime categories.

Here's a spreadsheet summary for you. And check out the "photo" gallery for screenshots of individual crime categories:

Read the continuation for further analysis and CTA comment.
Theft -- the most prevalent crime on the CTA -- increased
almost 12% in 2009 over 2008. There were 1,603 theft reports in 2009,
and 1,434 in 2008 -- an 11.8% rise. Pick-pocketing represents about 40%
of the theft crimes, but interestingly, that crime category dropped 7%
overall in 2009 over 2008.

Among crimes that fell in 2009:

  • Sex offenses dropped 37% (47 in 2009 vs. 75 in 2008).
  • Criminal trespass fell 24% (197 vs. 259).
  • Weapons violations dipped 21% (30 vs. 38).
  • Narcotics dropped almost 15% (582 vs. 681).
  • Deceptive
    practices -- mostly turnstile jumping -- fell close to 7% (1,028 vs.
    1,110). This was the second most prevalent crime reported on the CTA in

Assault and battery showed small drops of about 3% and
just under 1% respectively. There were 279 assaults in 2009 and 287 in
2008; reported batteries were 813 in 2009 and 818 in 2008.

CTA works closely with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to provide a
safe environment for customers and employees," said CTA President
Richard Rodriguez, in response to the Tattler crime analysis. "A more
visible police presence, public awareness campaigns and a strategic
deployment of resources have helped us reduce some criminal activity.

can help by being vigilant and reporting criminal or suspicious
activity to CTA or the police," Rodriguez added. "These reports allow
us to identify trends and deploy resources accordingly. In addition,
CTA is expanding its surveillance camera network and we believe that
will further address crime by acting as a deterrent and providing
information for use in investigations."

Note: This data reflects only reported crime for which a report has been filed and published by the Chicago Police. It does not include crimes that may have occurred in suburbs served by the CTA. Special shout-out to the great folks at EveryBlock.com, including Adrian Holovaty, Paul Smith, Paul Wilson and my brother, Dan X. O'Neil.


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  • So maybe I'll stop reading news on the Blackberry and go back to ink on paper. Nice work, sir.

  • I wonder if 2.3% is within the margin of statistical error -- unreported crimes, for instance.

    An average is overly simplistic, but that's still about 14 crimes per day -- not bad for a system so large, but not great, either.

  • And yes, a job well done, Kevin!

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