The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) announced the city’s new public transit safety plan, which includes 50 more officers, smart policing technology and a dedicated detective unit.
CTA is adding an additional 50 officers to its Public Transportation Unit to expand CPD’s footprint on Chicago’s public transit system, allowing more officers to monitor activity on the platform stations, trains and buses.
"With more than 1 million daily riders, the safety and security of the traveling public are extremely important to us," says Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck. "Today's transit safety enhancements puts Chicago in alignment with other major city transit systems across the country and allows us to leverage technology-based policing that has helped reduce crime and violence in Chicago for the last three years."
The CPD is creating a group of detectives to focus solely on crime activity on the CTA. Working directly with the CTA Security Department and the officers patrolling the stations, CPD says the new detectives will supplement its efforts to solve crimes when they do occur.
In addition to the new detectives, CPD will add a new Strategic Decision Support Center (SDSC Room) to the 1st (Central) District, which will be dedicated to solving CTA crime as well as crimes in the District. Expected to launch this spring, the new smart policing technology will be the central location where CPD will have access to more than 32,000 cameras already installed on CTA property. The cameras, which are found at every rail station and on every bus and train, continue to assist detectives in identifying and locating offenders that commit crimes on the public transit system.
Funded by a donation by philanthropist and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, CPD says the new SDSC Room will decrease the time needed to access surveillance footage from both CTA cameras as well as private security cameras, which in the past has taken detectives hours to retrieve. The district-based intelligence centers give real-time access to district intelligence information to police officers in the field, helping them determine deployment strategies based on historical crime data, says CPD. The mobile technology will allow for smarter, data-driven patrols and significantly decreased response times to potential service calls.
The CTA operates the second-largest public transit system in the nation, with approximately 1.5 million rides taken on CTA buses and trains on an average weekday. CTA provides more than 18,000 bus trips and 2,300 train trips each weekday.