Robberies and aggravated battery incidents reported on the CTA in 2012 were down by 21 percent and nearly 12 percent respectively compared to 2011, the CTA reports.The total reduction for those violent crimes was 19 percent.
On the down side, thefts were up almost 16 percent over 2011, "much of that attributable to thefts of cell phones and other electronic devices."
With this news release, the CTA took the opportunity to remind us of steps it has taken to improve safety:
Over the past year, CTA and Chicago Police Department have taken other steps to enhance bus and rail system security, including:
- Continued implementation of Rail Saturation Missions by CPD’s Public Transportation Section.
- Assignment of CPD detectives responsible for CTA video enforcement and deterrence initiatives.
- Doubling the size of the CTA Security Department by filling previously vacant, budgeted positions and creating three new positions, which include two former detectives and two security specialists.
- The restructuring of CTA’s Security Department to adopt a regional approach to policing, which mirrors the structure of CPD and will allow security staff to become more familiar with their assigned locations and work in conjunction with CPD detectives assigned in each region.
- Creation of a new, modern video surveillance room 12 times larger than the previous facility, featuring nearly three dozen displays for CTA security personnel and assigned police detectives to review video from buses and trains and access live, real-time feeds from rail system cameras.
Combined, these new initiatives will allow for improved video surveillance, quicker response and greater efficiency of resources among CTA and CPD personnel responsible for investigating crimes, mining evidence and intelligence provided by CTA’s camera network, analyzing criminal trends and patterns and conducting real-time remote surveillance missions.
Interestingly, in the same new release the CTA refuted a Sun-Times story that reported crime at CTA rail stations rose 21 percent in 2102. The release says the Sun-Times story "fails to provide context to those numbers. . . . For example, the most common rail station crime—fare evasion—was up 41 percent, contributing to much of the overall increase."
“We are committed to addressing fare evasion as part of our strategy to aggressively prevent would-be offenders from committing more serious crimes,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
Additionally, the crime stats include offenses of all varieties, from vandalism to theft of CTA signs to trespassing—crimes that don’t directly impact the safety and security of CTA customers.