Trouble on the CTA: Do rider cameras capture more than security cameras?

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The CTA says it’s trains and buses are safe, and for the majority of users, that’s true. But for those who get caught in the middle of a fight on a confined train or bus, it’s hard to feel safe at all especially if help isn’t close by.

Drug use, physical violence, bullying are just some of the unsettling things the average CTA rider might see on any given day. And passengers take videos all the time of incidents like these.  Sometimes cameras on the trains or buses also capture the crime.  Like the recent beating on the Skokie Swift.  After police released the video, the man was caught.

Citizens taking action is a public transit advocacy group.  They believe a lot of the crimes that happen on the CTA aren’t even reported.   They say security cameras have replaced people and incidents won’t stop unless police or security personnel  are in full view.

There are about 3,600 security cameras in the transit system.  But no one monitors them in real time.  The CTA has put emergency buttons on the trains and busses to push for help.   And a spokesperson for the CTA says even if you don’t see the police or security personnel, they’re there.

Trouble on the CTA: Do rider cameras capture more the security cameras?The CTA spokesperson say cameras are working to deter crime.  1.6 million people ride the CTA every day.  CTA says in the first quarter of this year, crime is down double digits.

The CTA says the emergency button by the door is to help you the rider communicate with the operator in the head car who can then contact police.

Here are some other safety tips, provided by the CTA, should you be in a potentially dangerous situation:


  • Customers are advised to not fight back or engage the offender.
  • Each CTA train is equipped with an emergency call button (located under a blue light) that should work and provide direct contact to the train operator.
  • To report an incident while on a bus, customers should alert the operator if possible or call 911.


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