After 2 CTA attacks, police, transit officials discuss crime-fighting strategies

A Chicago Police Department spokesman said the officials discussed “options for enhanced strategies to deter and combat crimes, including making any adjustments to Transit deployments where necessary.”

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CTA personnel gather outside the Blue Line station at UIC-Halsted, 430 S. Halsted St., where a man was shot on a train Monday.

A shooting of a CTA passenger as he was getting off a train at the UIC-Halsted Blue Line station on Wednesday was one of two recent attacks on CTA property.

Sam Charles/Sun-Times

In the wake of two brazen acts of violence on the CTA, police and transit officials met Friday to discuss strategies to tamp down criminal activity on Chicago’s trains and buses.

The meeting, according to a Chicago Police Department spokesman, was “to discuss options for enhanced strategies to deter and combat crimes, including making any adjustments to Transit deployments where necessary.”

The focus on CTA safety intensified earlier this week after a musician was stabbed on the busy Jackson Red Line platform. The next day, a man was shot while exiting a Blue Line train at the UIC-Halsted station. Suspects were taken into custody in both incidents.

While those two incidents received substantial media attention largely because of when and where they occurred — both in or near downtown, and in broad daylight —criminal activity on the CTA is on the rise across the city.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019, CTA buses and trains were the scene of 458 criminal incidents, according to the CPD. That’s a 24 percent increase from the same period in 2017.

Police records show in the past 10 years there have been nearly 6,200 robberies and attempted robberies on CTA property. Of those, 835 have ended in arrests.

Shootings on trains, however, are substantially less common. CPD records show since January 2010 there have been five nonfatal shootings on CTA trains. In that same time period, there have been eight murders on CTA trains and station platforms.

The most recent fatal shooting on CTA property happened in December when a 20-year-old man was shot and killed at the Howard station in Rogers Park.

As part of the organizational shuffle announced last month by interim CPD Supt. Charlie Beck, responsibility over the CTA and all of mass transit in Chicago would be placed under the control of the CPD’s new counter-terrorism unit.

“What we want to do is put more of a presence not only on the platforms but riding the trains themselves,” Beck told ABC7 on Friday.

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