A woman checks email on her iPhone during her commute home on the CTA Brown… (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago…)
Electronics thefts on the CTA were down 36 percent for the first three months of this year, according to Chicago police data released last week.
There were 228 reported thefts of iPhones, cellphones and computers from January through March, compared to 355 thefts during the same period last year, police said.
CTA officials credit the decrease to an increase in cameras on the system, which saw ridership decline nearly 7 percent in January and February, according to the most recent ridership data available.
CTA trains saw the largest decrease in electronic thefts, from 128 thefts in January through March 2013 to 81 thefts during the same period this year. On CTA platforms, thefts were down from 37 thefts last year to 21 thefts this year.
The data covers January through March, and more recently, an arrest was made last week after a teenager reported a man stole his two cellphones at the 87th Red Line station. After investigating further, police recovered 21 stolen cellphones, the Tribune reported. Bail was set Saturday at $300,000 for James Barnes, 40.
In a press conference earlier this month with Mayor Emanuel, the CTA said it had finished retrofitting its older rail cars with security cameras, which helped lead to the decrease in crime, including thefts. There are now 23,000 cameras on buses and trains, the CTA said.
CTA buses saw the second-largest decrease in thefts of electronics, from 127 in January through March last year to 91 during the same period this year.
CTA bus ridership was down 12 percent in January and February compared to the same period in 2013. Rail ridership is up 1 percent. CTA officials blamed the bus ridership decrease on the record cold temperatures during those months.