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CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department’s Public Transportation Section held a roll call at a Chicago Transit Authority station to discuss public safety.

The roll call happened at the Clark and Lake station of CTA’s elevated train line. Officials from both CPD and CTA offered transit safety tips ahead of the holiday shopping season following the roll call.

So far this year, there have been more than 500 people who have been robbed or involved in a violent crime on CTA. It’s on pace to be the worst in about 20 years.

According to numbers from CPD, the red line seems to be the worst, especially south of Jackson.

This is why the Chicago Police Department is reminding people to be aware of their surroundings and remain vigilant.

Often robberies will increase as people go out to do their holiday shopping and have all of those packages with them on board the buses and trains. 

“many times we see backpacks wide open, purses over the shoulder wide open,” CPD Commander Joe Bird said. “We’re asking is keep them secure. Keep your bags while you’re shopping secure to yourself.”

Chicago police are reporting that a new deployment of officers on public transit has just in a few weeks reduced amount of crimes compared to the same couple of weeks from last year.

From Jan. 1 through the end of August, crime on the CTA was up 40% overall and violent crime was up 26%.

According to CPD data, overall and violent crimes are down in September, October and November 2022 compared to 2021.

Month/yearOverall crimeViolent crime
Sept. 2021-2022Down 15%Down 26%
Oct. 2021-2022Down 17%Down 18%
Nov. 2021-2022Down 19%Down 17%

There are some 38,000 cameras on the Chicago transit system, but obviously, not all of them can be monitored. That’s why police are also reminding people “if you see something, say something.”

CTA Vice President of Safety and Security Kevin Ryan said they’re looking at new ways to do things and get information to law enforcement in real-time.

Chicago police said officers have cell phones and are able to get pictures and videos in real-time.

But even as the numbers head down, some riders say their concerns remain up.

“I try to keep a weapon on me to fight back and I try to sit close to other people being that I travel alone,” Consuela Johnson said.