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CTA credits security cameras for 32 percent drop in crime on rail system


The number of crimes committed on the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) rail system fell 32 percent last year compared with 2014, the agency announced yesterday.

Robberies on the agency's trains, stations platforms and tracks declined 19 percent, while thefts fell 13 percent. On both trains and buses, the total number of crimes dropped 25 percent, agency officials said in a press release.

Security camera images have significantly helped CTA in identifying suspects and making arrests, CTA officials said, adding that the technology also serves as a warning to would-be offenders.

Last year, 256 individuals whose images were caught on CTA cameras were arrested for crimes committed on or near agency property. That figure marked an 8 percent increase in arrests from 2014, CTA officials said.

Among those arrested was a suspect who turned himself in voluntarily after police released images of him connected to an assault incident in December.

Since 2011, CTA has more than doubled the number of security cameras across its rail system. The agency also has undertaken a project to retrofit more than 250 older-series rail cars with interior cameras. Additionally, all of the CTA's newest 5000-series rail cars are equipped with cameras.

Meanwhile, CTA logged a 72 percent drop in the category of "fraud" or fare evasion. Agency officials attributed the decline to efforts taken last year to curtail the improper and unauthorized use of free- and reduced-fare ride cards.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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