The number of reported crime incidents at CTA rail stations has increased 21 percent in the last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. This is despite a $26 million effort by the public transit agency to install thousands of high-resolution cameras at rail stations to help curb crime, the article stated. However, the news source said the cameras have failed to cut down on crime from rising at the stations.
Alderman Willie Cochran, of the 20th Ward, which includes many Red Line stops, the top CTA line for crime, told the news source some criminals are "committing crimes right up underneath the cameras." These criminals do not seem to care they are being watched, he told the Sun-Times.
Between 2011 and 2012, the number of cellphone thefts, purse-snatchings, fare evasions, simple assaults and drug crimes at CTA stations was up 26 percent, the article stated. Deceptive practice, which includes turnstile-jumping or other forms of fare evasion, is the most common offense seen at CTA train stations, according to the Sun-Times. The rate of those crimes was up 41 percent in 2012, the article stated.
Cochran said the rise in theft may be attributed to the increased ridership on the CTA, as well as the growing number of people carrying mobile devices, the Sun-Times reported.
"There's a growing number of people carrying electronics,'' said Cochran, according to the article. "There's a growing number of people not aware of the need to protect electronics. There's a growing number of riders. A growing number of unemployed. And a growing number of people who see opportunities on mass transit to find victims.''
The CTA is also making an effort to decrease crime on the rail cars, ABC Chicago affiliate WLS reported. The CTA said it would be installing four cameras, which can give a 360-degree view, on some older rail cars, the story stated. The CTA also said every new rail car would have cameras installed in them, according to WLS.