South Loop safety meeting zeros in on CTA crime, which is up compared to last year

CHICAGO (WLS) -- South Loop residents and CTA riders came face to face with Chicago police to air their fears about crime on public transit Wednesday night.

The meeting came on the heels of more than half a dozen violent incidents on or near CTA property in just the last week or so.

MORE: Man shot after argument on CTA bus, police say

"I used to take the orange line and the blue out to the airports. I don't do that anymore. It's just, it doesn't seem to be a safe situation," said Lisa Antonio, CTA rider.

The incidents have included stabbings, a shooting, and an attack on a CTA train operator who was shoved on the tracks.

RELATED: Man stabbed during fight near Red Line stop, police say

Tuesday night a man was punched in the mouth while standing near a Northwest Side bus stop.

"Crime, most of it is rail-related. Most of it is after 6 p.m. Most of it is in the subway," said Kevin Ryan, vice president of security for CTA.

READ MORE: Man found beaten, reports of harassment at Loop CTA stations

"We have put additional resources. We have narcotics teams working on public transportation. We have gang enforcement teams working on public transportation every single day working on missions," said Cmdr. Joe Bird, Chicago Police Public Transportation Section.

So far this year, CTA-related crime has increased 40 percent compared to the same period last year. Battery is up 60 percent, and theft is up 80 percent. Though crime is up from last year, officials say the number of criminal incidents are about half of what they were pre-pandemic

In March CTA announced it was adding more unarmed security guards on trains and buses, but they have yet to be deployed fully.

"We are rolling them out," Ryan said. "They have to be trained. We can't just say, OK, you've got the contract. You're out on the system."
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