CHICAGO — Crews finished replacing the analog surveillance cameras along the CTA’s Blue and Red lines with digital and high-definition models this week, and officials say they’re already making it easier to solve crimes.
For years, Chicago police and transit authorities have relied on surveillance video and pictures to solve crimes near and on CTA trains and buses. Whether it’s a machete attack on the Brown Line, cell phone robberies on the Green Line, attacks on bystanders along the Red Line, or even a derailment and crash on the Blue Line, visual evidence is key.
City crews have been installing 1,000 HD surveillance cameras along the Red and Blue Lines for nearly a year, replacing more than 600 analog surveillance cameras and adding close to 350 new high definition models in the process. There are now more than 32,000 cameras throughout the CTA system, according to officials, more than double where they began in 2011.
CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson says the new upgrades also aided in the arrest of three people tied to the stabbing of a CTA employee last month near the Roosevelt Red Line station. They also led to the arrest of Isiah Cirton for pushing a person onto the Blue Line tracks near Jackson in December.
According to the CTA, video cameras have played a role in the arrests of 1,387 people involved in 1,272 crimes near or on CTA property between June 2011 and December 2017. That breaks out to an annual average of about 200 arrests each year, according to the CTA, but how many cases remain unsolved is unclear.