Your safety and security is our No. 1 priority.
A number of steps have been taken to improve your safety and security while on CTA, including: increased police patrols and undercover operations targeting pick-pocket theft rings, vandalism and other crimes; expansion and upgrades to our extensive surveillance camera network, which consists of roughly 32,000 cameras– making it one of the most comprehensive surveillance camera networks among U.S transit agencies.
In an effort to provide you with an even more secure and comfortable riding experience, in February 2018 we announced Safe & Secure - a multi-faceted, $33 million project to modernize and further expand our already extensive surveillance camera network, while also making other security improvements over the next few years, including:
- Upgrading more than 3,800 older-model rail station cameras to HD
- Installing new video displays at rail stations to aid personnel in monitoring station and customer activity
- New lighting, repairs and other improvements at all 146 rail stations
- Adding HD cameras to more than 100 CTA bus turnaround areas
Safe & Secure is funded by a new, innovative fee on ride-hailing services championed by Mayor Emanuel, the first such fee in the country dedicated to public transportation improvements. (More info...).
Behind the scenes, there are ongoing and extensive efforts under way to prevent crime and to investigate and prosecute criminals who commit crimes on our near our properties. CTA’s Security Department works closely with the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) Public Transportation Unit, a dedicated unit to CTA, on a number of ways to keep passengers safe each day.
CPD and the suburban police departments of Evanston, Forest Park and the Oak Park all provide police protection on our buses, trains and stations via the deployment of both uniformed and plainclothes officers, as well as surveillance missions and other policing strategies, including:
- CPD Transit Rider Interaction Program (TRIP) Pilot: An outgrowth of CTA’s Rules of Conduct, the TRIP pilot program is a new effort by CPD to further enforce rules on the CTA and create a comfortable and safe environment for customers. The pilot, which launched in March 2017, includes uniformed officers at various rail station platforms. Officers board arriving trains to both serve as a deterrent to crime and also respond to any incidents or inquiries from customers. The effort does not impact service and is designed to increase visibility and awareness of ongoing safety and security efforts on the system.
- Farecard Fraud Prevention: In an effort to prevent fraudulent use of reduced and free ride farecards on our system, which can cost potentially millions of dollars in lost fares, since 2014 we’ve been deploying K-9 security teams to rail stations to perform card user verification checks to ensure that the user of the reduced or free ride card is the actual person named/shown on the card. These checks only occur when a turnstile indicates that a free or reduced fare card (such as U-Passes) is used.
- CPD Mobile Explosives Screening Team (MEST)*: This federally funded counterterrorism and security initiative was launched in 2014 and is facilitated by CPD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Each week, MEST team members are deployed to various CTA rail stations to perform random explosives screenings, which simply require a quick swab of the exterior of bags carried by customers. These random screenings take less than a minute to conduct and do not include identification checks. Passengers who refuse a bag check are denied entry to the station.
- CTA K-9 Unit Patrols: Additional security personnel to supplement CPD efforts of maintain safety and security on the system.
*NOTE: While there is no known threat to CTA or the region’s public transportation facilities, Chicago along with a number of other major cities, including transit agencies in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Boston are taking part in similar programs to ensure the safety of residents and passengers.
Press releases and other information
- Mayor Emanuel and President Claypool Announce Completion of Project to Install Cameras on Rail Cars (press release, 05/07/2014)
- Tag, You’re Arrested! New CTA Cameras Aid Fight Against Vandalism (press release, 04/22/2014)
- CTA Makes Images Available of Person Last Seen with Alligator Abandoned at O’Hare (press release, 11/12/2013)
- Serious crime on CTA down 19 percent in 2012 (press release, 02/25/2013)
- CTA to Expand Surveillance Cameras on Rail Cars (press release, 02/11/2013)
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CTA President Forrest Claypool Announce Installation of Security Cameras at ‘L’ stops Has Been Completed Ahead of Schedule (press release, 11/21/2011)
- Mayor Emanuel Highlights the Critical Role of Security Cameras on Chicago’s Transit in Solving Two Major Crimes (press release, 10/15/2011)
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Additional Measure to Ensure the Safety and Security of People Across Chicago (press release, 07/27/2011)
- CTA Announces New Security Initiatives (press release, 06/20/2011)