CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department's move to boost their presence on public transit began Friday with additional patrols by SWAT team members, part of a larger safety plan police and CTA officials will announce this week.
Around 1.6 million people ride the CTA every day, but with violent crimes on the rise, officials decided to add more police to public transportation in Chicago.
"It doesn’t ever seem like there’s any security presence, so it does seem like if something were to happen you’d kinda be on your own," commuter Katie Trela said.
Just last week, a deadly shooting in a pedestrian tunnel near Jackson and Dearborn left one person dead and two others injured. It’s just the latest in recent string of violence on trains and buses.
"It's definitely really scary but I don’t know if I’m that surprised I think we hear about them all the time," commuter Isabel Bakros said.
The uptick in violence has many people calling on police to step up patrols. The CPD says they’re working on a comprehensive safety plan, which included the deployment of SWAT teams that began Friday morning. Police say people will notice these changes immediately.
"People are going to see SWAT officers — they’re usually in that camo green looking color — they are our best officers, they’re going to be riding the train until further notice," CPD First Deputy Superintendent Anthony Riccio said.
So far, 50 additional officers have been assigned to the CTA on a full-time basis, and district officers will be making their rounds at stations more often.
The plan met some mixed feelings from commuters and the Transit Union is opposed, saying it’s going to deter people from taking public transportation.
"I’m not sure if I feel more comfortable or not seeing that kind of police force on the train; I’d rather feel comfortable, and that could raise tensions to a certain extent," commuter Chester Davidson said.