CTA: Criminal Transit Authority?

Robberies on CTA system jump 77 percent in the last four years, statistics show

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Charlie Wojciechowski
    A train bound for Kimball enters the CTA's Paulina Station on the Brown Line.

    Chicago Transit Authority riders take heed: you may want to leave your iPod at home.

    A new report from the Chicago Police Department shows that thefts and other non-violent crimes are at an all-time high along the CTA routes, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which obtained the report.

    Since 2006, crime on the CTA rose by more than 26 percent, and statistics point to increases in each of the last four years, with this year on target to be up 12 percent.  The number of robberies alone went up 77 percent between 2006 and 2009, the newspaper found.

    The trend is with small electronic devices, which are distracting for the user and easy targets for someone who wants to grab and go.  Officials say the crimes aren't tied to one area.  It's system-wide and more a matter of opportunity than location.

    But while crime is up, the CTA said Tuesday there's been a 25 percent decrease in thefts since July of last year.  That's the result, in part, to a crackdown with more security and cameras, the agency said.

    "We work closely with the police department that deploys their resources and we also deploy other security resources such as K-9 teams on the system to assist where we see patterns," said CTA spokeswoman Amy Kovalan.

    To protect yourself, the agency recommends riders avoid sitting by the doors, where a thief can make a quick escape, and remain situationally-aware.

    On the flip side, violent crimes appear to be down. The number of aggravated assaults and batteries on CTA buses and train platforms could decrease this year.

    The CTA said it's planning to run advertisements warning riders of the dangers associated with carrying electronic devices.

    "Last year we really focused on a campaign to focus on pick-pocketing to make sure people were aware there.  And so now we're working on a campaign, as well, for small electronic devices," said Kovalan.

    For all the statistics visit the Sun-Times