Crime on CTA rises 5% in 2010 over 2009, with big jumps in robberies and thefts

Overall crime on the CTA in Chicago increased by more than 5% in 2010 compared to 2009. Robberies and theft showed the biggest jumps — 39% and 14% respectively.

This big CTA crime increase comes in the same year that overall crime in Chicago dropped 4.2%. Overall theft dropped almost 6% while it increased 14% on the CTA overall; theft soared a whopping 24% on CTA buses.

CTA Tattler compiled Chicago crime statistics available at, which aggregates data from the Chicago Police Department. Note: stats reflect crimes on the CTA in Chicago only.

There were more than 300 additional incidents of crime on the CTA in 2010 than in 2009. This increase in crime comes after a big decrease in service that went into effect in February 2010. The CTA also experienced a 1% decrease in ridership in 2010 over 2009.

In reviewing the crime data, I chose five CTA locations to report on 12 crimes common to the CTA. The five locations are:

  • CTA train
  • CTA platform
  • CTA bus
  • CTA bus stop
  • CTA garage/other property

The 12 crimes I tracked are:

  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Criminal sexual assault
  • Sex offense
  • Weapons violation
  • Public peace violation
  • Narcotics
  • Deceptive practice
  • Criminal damage
  • Criminal trespass

See the spreadsheet I embedded below for the brutal details of crime at each location in each category for 2009 and 2010.

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  • Not going into every number, but the most surprising thing is that there are numbers for "at bus stop" and the absolute numbers of those crimes (especially assault, battery and theft) have skyrocketed. Most would have thought that bus stops are DeCauax property. This also reinforces my view stated about 2 years ago that the BRT plan for Jeffery then proposed, which would supposedly have enclosed "paid areas" would have just set up the passengers for crime.

    On the other hand, the place where one would have thought assault would have gone up, CTA platforms, is down, although I wonder how significantly, and if longer waits or more cameras had any effect.

    Theft and pick pocketing would be assumed to be up, given all your posts about iPod grabbers and the like.

    From a legal standpoint, one has to ask how serious are the assault charges, since I doubt that the police are that concerned with just "reasonable apprehension of a battery." For instance, are people brandishing tire irons at bus stops (the gun offenses aren't that high)? For the legal definitions, see here.

    As far as "deceptive practices," one would have thought that that number would have reached near infinity, I guess that the police can't arrest everyone, although it appears that the "deaf pen sellers" were forced off the trains, and station agents no longer handle money.

  • Ride the Red or Green Lines south of 35th, everything imaginable is still sold on the trains.
    On top of that are the ridiculous preachers who always say they aren't begging for money, but are.
    And nothing is done about them!

  • In reply to ElstonClybourn:

    "And nothing is done about them!"

    Um...priorities, maybe?

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    Well, the deaf pen pushers were a priority.

    Also, Mr. CTA says "violators will be arrested." If they won't, why is Mr. CTA bullshitting?

    Take a look at the CTA Mission Statement, which says, inter alia, "We will create a pleasant environment for ourselves and our customers." What ElstonClybourn states suggests something other than that.

    And if that is not the priority, what is? Maybe the bus stops, but you tell us.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm talking about police priorities, not the CTA. And yes, I think the CPD has bigger issues to worry about than preachers on the CTA. Apparently you disagree?

    And if we're talking about CTA priorities, I still don't think shutting up preachers should be too high on the list. Providing fast, dependable and safe service are much more important in my mind.

    It's kind of hilarious that the two of you - who are very familiar with the CTA's and the city's budget woes - would think this is a critical issue.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    I think Scooter had some answers to this one.

    I don't ride south of 35th, so I can't comment on what goes on there. However, AB, you seem to agree that providing safe service is a priority, and that includes not enabling disturbing the peace.

    Admittedly, though, CPD has a hell of a lot of other crimes on the CTA with which to deal.

    And, I suppose that none of this is a priority if the CTA is running such a deficit that it wants to discourage ridership. However, in such case, continue cutting service, and don't ask the taxpayers to bail it out.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    Maybe the CTA needs to take some of those large men with the large dogs I see on the platforms and have them at the bus stops.

  • In reply to aaronjbrown:

    A few arrests by the police would stop it, along with a judge banning them from CTA property.
    Violate that & they go to jail for a month.
    That will stop it.
    And police HQ is right next to the 35th Green line station & a few blocks from the 35th/Dan Ryan station.. There are a lot of cops on "restricted duty" due to claims of injury.
    Just having them ride the trains in uniform would force an end to the peddlers & preachers.
    This isn't about a lack of money or manpower, it's a lack of imagination!

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