Chicago police to increase presence on CTA during holiday shopping season

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
CPD to increase presence on CTA during holiday shopping season
Chicago police are making their presence known on the CTA ahead of the busy holiday season.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Ahead of a busy holiday season, the Chicago Police Department is making their presence known on the CTA.

Commander Joe Bird of CPD's Public Transportation Section was at the Clark & Lake station Tuesday morning warning riders to stay safe this shopping season.

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"There's a ton of activities going on in this city," Bird said. "We are out here to serve and protect. We are going to be on the platforms, we're going to be in the station and we just want to make sure it's a great season for everybody."

"It could always get better, it could always be safer in situations," CTA rider Chanelle Torres said. "But for now, it's getting me where I need to be."

Chicago police say they'll have more officers in the downtown central business district, including on the CTA, as stores open earlier and stay open later during the holidays.

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With the addition of canine units, Bird said crime is down 17% this month on the CTA, compared to this time last year. He said it's the third consecutive month crime has declined.

"There's more officers now detailed to the public transportation system, and since that happened, we saw a decrease in crime," Bird said. "Since August of this year, there are several officers deployed to the public transportation system and crime has decreased."

But even so, the message is clear from riders.

"I would like to have the police on the train with us," longtime CTA rider Denise Bryant said. "People see them and they're not going to really do that much. But if they make their presence known that they're going to ride to the end of the line or if they're going to go three stops down or whatever and come back, just make their presence seen, we'll feel a lot much safer."

SEE ALSO | Police seek suspects in pepper spray attack, robbery on CTA Red Line platform

"Is there problems? Yes, there are problems. We are addressing them," CTA VP of Security Kevin Ryan said. "The CTA, we've taken security personnel, they're riding trains mostly overnight actually on the trains. So that's a change in the strategy."

The CTA said they're also looking at adding new technology to get information to law enforcement in real time. They say that with 38,000 cameras system wide, someone can't be watching at all times.

Police are urging riders to keep your belongings secure and shopping bags close this holiday season.