Mayor Emanuel and CTA Announce Entire Rail System Now 100 Percent Equipped with High-Definition Cameras

April 4, 2019

Red and Blue Line subway camera upgrades complete; part of $33 million Safe & Secure Program funded by Mayor Emanuel’s innovative ride-hailing fee

Mayor Emanuel and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. today announced the completion of work to install 1,000 high-definition (HD) surveillance cameras throughout the Red and Blue line subway stations, making the entire system equipped with HD cameras—a valuable tool to help deter and solve crimes.

“Through this investment, we're building on a world-class public transportation system that provides the comfortable, safe and secure experience every rider deserves," said Mayor Emanuel. “Upgrading CTA’s surveillance network with state-of-the-art, high definition cameras will help ensure the safety and security of all passengers who rely on our bus and rail system to get to work, school and to destinations across our great city."

Since May 2018, crews have been switching out old analog surveillance cameras with new HD cameras across all nine Red Line subway stations and all 12 Blue Line subway stations, as well as installing additional cameras to improve surveillance coverage. In total, 660 existing cameras were upgraded and 340 cameras were added, expanding the previous subway station camera coverage by more than 50 percent.

“Ensuring the safety of our customers and employees is our number one concern,” said CTA President Carter. “The Safe & Secure program allows us to continue investing in the safety of our system and further our efforts towards providing a safer transit environment for our riders and employees.”

CTA’s security camera network has more than doubled in size since 2011 and now boasts more than 32,000 cameras systemwide – making it the most comprehensive networks among major U.S. transit agencies. CTA’s cameras have been an invaluable tool for police as they investigate crimes committed on or near CTA properties, as well as identifying crime patterns and conducting remote surveillance missions. On average, images pulled from CTA’s cameras have aided police in arresting roughly 200 persons each year.

"CTA's high-definition surveillance cameras strengthen the CPD’s ability to keep buses, trains and the entire city safe,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “The Safe and Secure Program is just one more way CPD and CTA are partnering to ensure that our transportation system is safer than ever.”

The new HD surveillance found throughout the Red and Blue line subway stations have been an important tool to help Chicago Police identify crime suspects and detect crime patterns. Last month, cameras recently installed at the Roosevelt Red Line station aided CPD in the arrest of three individuals now charged in connection with an altercation that led to a CTA employee being stabbed. Upgraded cameras at the Jackson Blue Line station also assisted police in the arrest of an individual now charged in connection with an altercation that led to a victim being pushed to the tracks in December.

Importantly, cameras are just one component in a multi-pronged effort towards combatting crime that also involves CTA employees, private security agencies and, most importantly, the Chicago Police Department, as well as suburban law enforcement agencies that provide security for the CTA.

As part of the multi-year Safe & Secure program, a total of 1,000 new cameras will be added and more than 3,800 older-model cameras will be upgraded throughout the rail system. Additionally, new lighting, repairs and other improvements will enhance safety at all 145 CTA rail stations. New HD cameras will also be installed at more than 100 CTA bus turnaround locations and video monitors will be added to all CTA rail stations to aid personnel in monitoring station and customer activity.

CTA’s Safe and Secure is funded by Mayor Emanuel’s innovative fee on ride-hailing services, the first such fee in the country dedicated to public transportation improvements. For more information on CTA security efforts, visit transitchicago.com/security.

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