Some riders fearful after Orange Line robbery, rail crime down

Written By BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN AND ART GOLAB Staff Reporters Posted: 07/19/2014, 05:05pm
Array Commuters react to the robberies earlier this week aboard an Orange Line CTA train. | Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times

Orange Line rider Jennifer Carter said she’s been frightened ever since she heard two armed men robbed a train car on that line earlier this week.

Kathleen O’Donnell has instructed her teenage daughter to ride with friends and to keep her eyes open.

But Luis Gaspar isn’t worried about more crime on the train line, which goes from the Loop to Midway Airport.

“It’s not really frequent on the Orange Line,” he said. “This is uncommon.”

Crime data shows just that.

In the past 12 months, compared to the 12 months before that, overall crime on trains and at stations has been down on the Orange Line south of Roosevelt Road, according to Chicago Police Department data.

The data, which does not include the most recent robberies, shows only one incident of a robbery committed with a handgun.

“Crime has actually been falling on the CTA and it’s very rare,” said CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase, though she noted incidents like the one Wednesday are very “startling” to riders.

Police on Friday afternoon said they were still investigating the recent Orange Line robberies, which were apparently committed by two gunmen in between the Halsted and the Roosevelt stops.

Images of the men were captured by the CTA’s many cameras (the system has 23,000 cameras). The two got away with riders’ electronic devices and money.

Carter, 53, of Bronzeville, said she now carries little money on the train.

John Allen, 45, said he’s keeping his tablet tucked away or leaving it at home.

O’Donnell, 38, of Bridgeport also is leaving her iPhone at home.

But for Gaspar, 19, it’s business as usual.

The college student from Marquette Park waited outside the Halsted station listening to music with earbuds.

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