Man beaten, robbed on Red Line part of recent string of violent CTA attacks, data shows

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Eight people beat and robbed a man of his belongings Tuesday on a CTA Red Line train, the latest attack in a string of violence on the transit system since Thanksgiving.

The man, 23, was riding the Red Line about 12:25 a.m. in the 600-block of South State Street when eight males approached and started hitting him near the Roosevelt Station, Chicago police said.

They took his cellphone and shoes before fleeing in an unknown direction.

The man's face was bruised, and he was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where his condition stabilized, police said.

Police sources said the man would not give a description of his attackers and was not cooperating with officers.

"Whenever I'm on a crowded train I kind of check to make sure I have everything," said Carl Foltz, a CTA rider.

But police said a woman never even made it on a train before a man punched her in the face on the platform at the Lake Street Red Line stop around 1:20 a.m. Friday morning.

Chicago police said she was one of at least five people attacked or robbed in the Loop since Thanksgiving morning.

A man told police that five men approached him, grabbed him by the legs and pushed him down onto the Jackson Boulevard Red Line platform just before 11 p.m. Friday. When he hit his face, police said the robbery suspects then took his luggage and other valuables and got away on a southbound Red Line train.

Between January and November of this year, there have been 499 robberies on city buses and trains, according to city data. That's the most since 2013.

But the Chicago Transit Authority said in a statement Tuesday that serious crime on its buses and trains is "extremely rare and in line with our peer agencies, nationwide."

"The safety and security of our customers is our No. 1 priority," the statement said. "While crime does occasionally occur on CTA buses and trains, as it does anywhere else in the city, overall, CTA is a very safe environment. Addressing crime on CTA's large public transit system is a multi-pronged effort."

CTA officials said employees, private security, a network of roughly 32,000 cameras and law enforcement are part of that effort. But they also said Chicago police were the ones who needed to address any crime trends.

"I know anything could happen...never know when I'll be that guy in the wrong place at the wrong time," passenger Jamel Moore said.

Data also show that while the number of robberies on the transit system has risen, the number of arrests appears to be down. In 2013, there were 108 arrests. So far this year, there have been 49, a 55% drop.

"There's that bystander effect, where people diffuse responsibility and assume the next person is going to do something," Foltz said.

FULL CTA STATEMENT

"The safety and security of our customers is our number one priority. Serious crime on the Chicago Transit Authority's system is extremely rare and in line with our peer agencies, nationwide. While crime does occasionally occur on CTA buses and trains-as it does anywhere else in the city-overall, CTA is a very safe environment. Addressing crime on CTA's large public transit system is a multi-pronged effort involving CTA employees, private security agencies, a camera network of roughly 32,000 cameras and, notably, city and suburban law enforcement agencies.

Any details regarding crime trends would need to be addressed by the Chicago Police Department, which is the primary provider of law enforcement on our bus and rail system. Whenever there is a reported crime on our system, we work closely with and assist police as they investigate the matter, including providing any relevant surveillance footage as evidence."


The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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