CTA: Cameras in Every Station By End of May

Homeland Security money pays to expand city surveillance network

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Friday, May 21, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 PM CDT
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The Chicago Transit Authority says it will have at least one camera at each of its 144 rail stations by the end of the month.

The money for the new cameras and their installation will come from a $22.6 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Mayor Richard Daley on Friday hailed the expansion of the CTA’s current system, which will grow from about 1200 cameras now to more than 3,000 by the end of the year.

"These cameras are very important to police," Daley said.  "They are key to solving many crimes."

The new cameras will be high definition and will give their operators the ability to pan and zoom into areas of concern.

When asked about the extra eyes at the Paulina station, many said they felt the cameras provide peace of mind.

"I would feel much more safe," says one tourist.  "I think it’s a great idea."

After the stations are complete, the CTA says the next step will be its rail car fleet.  The new 5000 series cars come equipped with cameras but older cars will have to be retrofitted.

All of the CTA’s buses are already equipped with cameras.

“I would strongly suggest there is a deterrent,” says CTA chief Richard Rodriguez.  "Kids know we have cameras on our buses and in our stations.  It helps our customers feel safe."

The cameras will also provide additional eyes to law enforcement. The CTA’s system will be tied into the massive camera network maintained by the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

"These cameras help us immensely," said OEMC chief Jose Santiago. "If they help us keep one felon off the street, especially a repeat felon, that’s the goal."

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