CTA adds security cameras, touts crime decrease

May 07, 2014|By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz | RedEye

The CTA has finished retrofitting its older rail cars with security cameras, the agency said today while touting a 26 percent decrease in serious crimes in the first three months of the year.

The CTA said it has added security cameras to its 2600- and 3200-series cars, which run on the Red, Purple, Brown, Orange and Blue lines. There are now 23,000 cameras systemwide, the CTA said.

Cameras already were installed on its new rail cars, the 5000-series cars that run on the Red, Purple, Pink, Green and Yellow lines.

At a press conference today at the Kimball Brown Line stop, CTA President Forrest Claypool and Mayor Emanuel credited cameras with a 26 percent decline in serious crime for January through March compared to the same period in 2013.

Thefts, the most common serious crime on the CTA, declined 23 percent systemwide, the CTA said.

The agency said it has seen a rise in recent years of thefts on the CTA because more riders use smartphones and tablets. The Chicago police could not immediately provide electronic theft numbers.

More cameras on the CTA have "put criminals on notice," Claypool said.

Besides the cameras, the CTA said an increase of police patrols helped lower CTA crime.

A CTA spokeswoman said weather had a "very minimal" impact on the reduction in crime.

But the agency is blaming weather for its lower ridership this year.

The agency logged only 20.5 million bus rides and 17.5 million rail rides in January, the most recent ridership data on transitchicago.com. This is the lowest bus ridership the agency has seen in at least six years, according to CTA ridership numbers.

The CTA logged 25 million bus rides and 19 million rail rides in an average 2013 month.

Chicago Public Schools were closed for four days because of snow and cold in January, and some businesses also shut down during Chiberia, which greatly affected bus ridership, the CTA said.

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