Security upgrades don't change how we feel about CTA crime: Tattler safety poll

A CTA Tattler quick poll shows that the recent safety upgrades by the transit agency haven’t really made much difference in how safe we feel compared to three years ago.

A full 55 percent of the 630-plus readers who took the poll said they feel about the same as they did three years – that the installation of more than 23,000 security cameras really made no difference in their attitudes about safety.

Another 26 percent reported they “don’t feel safer; it’s worse out there.” About 18 percent said “the safety upgrades have made a difference.”

Frankly, I was a little surprised by the results. I give the CTA credit for its recent safety upgrades, including retrofitting older rail cars with security cameras and increasing undercover operations.

But crime and feeling safe is a very personal thing. Perceptions are reality. While in fact “crime is down,” there still are iPhone thefts and robberies on CTA properties. So watch your back out there.
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  • The rational explanation for the difference is that the cameras are not real time, for the most part.

    As indicated with regard to the 2 Orange Line robbers, they were stupid because they were eventually caught, but the deterrence was not enough to prevent the crimes from happening.

    Given the usual disclaimer that this poll is not scientific, it is no different than Garry McCarthy claiming that street crime is down, but the Sun-Times running Homicide Watch Chicago.

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    I don't feel safer because the things that make me feel unsafe on the CTA are things that aren't related to robbery or other major crimes. The things most likely to make me feel unsafe are men hitting on me, loud people with obvious mental health issues, drunk people, and panhandlers who get a little too aggressive. Several of these might, technically, be illegal, but they aren't big concerns from the CTA's point of view. For the most part, they aren't even things I could or would want to report--a two-sentence unwanted sexual advance takes only a couple of seconds and is probably not reportable, but can ruin my entire commute. I think the things that make me feel unsafe on the CTA are mostly societal problems that CTA can't do much about--with the possible exception of panhandlers.

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