The installation of the new cameras was completed weeks ahead of schedule. Now, when CTA riders get on and off the trains during their daily commutes, they'll pass under an increased number of surveillance cameras, 10 to 30 at each station. Nearly 1,800 new security cameras have been installed since June, doubling the number of cameras at all 144 train stations and leaving it at more than 3,000 in total.
"In an attempt to modernize CTA in a comprehensive approach, we have brought more stations more security and more service to the public," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
The mayor, CTA President Forrest Claypool, and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy spoke Monday. The installation was completed six weeks ahead of schedule and city officials say the cameras have already proven to be a valuable crime fighting tool by helping police identify murder and robbery suspects, in one case, helping lead to the arrest of a murder suspect.
"Just last week, police used video footage from new cameras along the blue line to capture a serial robber. In one instance, the robber was deterred when the would-be victim pointed up at the security cameras," Claypool said.
"We know we're short on police and you can't put a police on every platform. when you have situations like that, being able to have cameras there to just have people to be able to see and know that somebody is watching them is going to give the people a sense of security," Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward, said.
In addition to the new cameras, more than 700 of the new rail cars the CTA is putting into service are also outfitted with cameras. While CTA riders seem to appreciate the attention to safety, some say their approach to riding the trains will not change.
"I hear about it and read about it, but to be honest with you, I don't pay any attention to it because it's up to me to observe my surroundings," Conrad Terry, CTA rider, said.
"I'd like to see more money put in to making the CTA run faster and have more people have access to them, Haley Whiting, CTA rider, said.
Officials say the live feeds are piped into the 911 call center and into each police district.