CTA cameras boost arrests this year; thefts up, but robberies down

The increased use of surveillance cameras at all rail stations and platforms this year has resulted in more arrests this year, CTA officials say. However, thefts have risen 16 percent in the first nine months this year, the Tribune reports. The good news is that robberies are down, though it’s hard to pinpoint by how much, according to the Trib story.

Of course, thefts of handheld devices such as phones is driving the increase. The accompanying video from the Budapest transit system shows just how fast a thief can work. (Hat tip to Tovi for the link.)

Regarding the efficacy of the cameras since Jan. 1, the CTA reports the arrest of 134 individuals involved in crimes either on or off the CTA system, most involving robberies or thefts.

“In one recent example, Chicago police broke up a ring of pickpockets after capturing video of incidents on the Red Line. Using video captured during those incidents, CTA worked with police to identify the crime patterns and set up a video stakeout. During that effort, an offender committed a pickpocket crime and CTA immediately notified police, who made an arrest on site.”

That’s great stuff. But we riders must remember our role in not becoming a victim in the first place. Pay more attention to your surroundings than your phone. And be especially aware when sitting or standing near the doors, as seen in the video.

Since June 2011, the CTA has installed 1,800 additional security cameras at rail stations, bringing the total to more than 3,600. All the new rail cars have security cameras, and the CTA says it will begin retrofitting the older rails cars with security cameras in the near future.


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  • Between the "Of course, thefts of handheld devices such as phones is driving the increase." and references to pickpockets, apparently it doesn't take force to lift an iProduct, including not the degree necessary to pick a pocket, the legal distinction being that robbery is a crime against the person, not property. I guess that the users of smart phones are displaying them too much on CTA premises and vehicles.

  • Well no wonder the guy I saw try that failed. He grabbed the phone right when the doors opened thus giving his victim time to respond. If he'd waited until the doors were about to close, he might have gotten away with it.

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    I definitely agree with the fact that we need to be more way more aware of our surroundings. Having our phones out on a crowded train, constantly texting and listening to music just makes us an easy target. That would solve a lot of the problems. But then there are those thefts who will just walk up to you and ask for your money...electronics etc whether you have it out or not.

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