Cameras aiding in the fight against crime
With more than 33,000 cameras installed across our bus and rail system, our security camera network is one of the most comprehensive among U.S. transit agencies. Every day these cameras serve as an invaluable tool for police and their investigation into crimes committed either on or near CTA properties.
Images pulled from our cameras have been successfully used in detecting crime patterns and serial offenders involved in both reported and unreported crimes, and have even led to the apprehension of offenders through real-time, remote policing missions. Since 2011, our network of security cameras have aided police in the arrest of roughly 200 persons each year.
Importantly, addressing crime on our system is complex effort, and our security cameras are just one component of a multi-pronged approach deployed to help deter crime and investigate incidents of crime that do occur. To learn more about the ongoing, collaborative policing efforts across the CTA, visit our Security webpage.
About our camera network
- Every rail station is equipped with multiple, high-definition surveillance cameras.
- In 2011, we more than doubled the size of our camera network under an aggressive and unprecedented effort to install more than 1,800 additional cameras in rail stations and platform in less than six months.
- As part of the Safe & Secure program launched in 2018, a number of other improvements were made to our rail system camera network, including:
- Upgrading more than 3,800 older-model rail station cameras to HD;
- Adding approx. 1,000 new HD cameras for improved coverage at select stations
- Every rail car across all eight rail lines is equipped with multiple surveillance cameras.
- In May 2014, we completed a $14 million project to retrofit our existing rail fleet – more than 840 rail cars – with more than 3,300 360-degree high definition cameras.
- Our 5000-series rail cars were the first in our fleet to be pre-equipped by the manufacturer with multiple surveillance cameras.
- Currently, every vehicle in our fleet of more than 1,800 buses is equipped with multiple surveillance cameras.
- Each bus features both interior and exterior cameras.
- There are upwards of 12 cameras on each vehicle depending on model.
- CTA's fleet of buses have been equipped with multiple surveillance cameras since 2003.
Policing and surveillance
- In 2020, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) launched a new Strategic Decision Support Center (SDSC) room, which gives police officers access to our network of cameras, allowing them to monitor and track active and ongoing incidents in real-time. Other benefits include:
- Capturing and disseminating of critical intelligence more efficiently;
- Ability to pinpoint areas across the system that require additional police presence and create deployment strategies based on that information; and
- Quicker deployment to active incidents.
- The CTA Security Department also has a secured-access video surveillance room that allows personnel, police officers and investigators to collaborate and have access to:
- Live cameras feeds from every rail station;
- Review recorded video pulled from CTA vehicles;
- 20 desktop work stations equipped with 35 displays; and
- A large, quad-screen video panel to view video from rail stations, rail cars and buses.
- In addition to our Security Department and their video surveillance room, CTA personnel in our Control Center, which oversees our day-today bus and rail operations and is staffed 24/7, have access to our live camera feeds.
- And as part of our collaborative efforts with the City of Chicago, the Office of Emergency Management (OEMC) and the Chicago Police Department's Public Transit Unit also have direct access to our live camera feeds.