The bottom line, for anybody thinking of taking a CTA bus or L train, is that it’s a safe ride.
Crime on the CTA, serious and petty, is relatively low, the numbers show, and we wouldn’t want to leave riders with any other impression. As the CTA points out, last year there was just one serious crime for every quarter-million passenger trips.
That said, the number of crimes has gone up in the last couple of years and — here’s what’s troubling us — more than 90 percent of those crimes never get solved. What’s going on here?
When Mayor Rahm Emanuel boasted about the CTA in a New York Times op-ed early in July, he didn’t mention safety. And he would have if he could have. That’s his way. But given the recent uptick in crime on CTA, he dared not go there. Just two years ago, when serious crime on the CTA dropped, the mayor and CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. made a big fuss about it.
As Robert Herguth and Nader Issa reported in Sunday’s Sun-Times, last year, only 6.7 percent of 2,007 serious crimes reported in Chicago at L stations and bus stops and on CTA trains and buses were solved. In 2015, only 8 percent were solved. In the first few months of this year, that number dropped to 6.6 percent.
Why are so few of the crimes solved? Riders would love to know. But, instead, we see an effort to downplay the problem. Why else would the CTA conveniently omit from its crime tally offenses that take place in the 30-plus suburbs served by the system? Why does a crime on a CTA train or bus not count when it occurs in Evanston or Oak Park?
The CTA has installed many more security cameras — 24,000 today compared with 1,500 in 2011 — and you have to like that. Last year, the cameras played a part in 278 arrests. The CTA also is patrolled by the Chicago Police Department’s Public Transportation Section, suburban police and private security contractors.
So why are there not more arrests? Why do the vast majority of crimes go unsolved?
Level with us.
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