Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Every CTA Rail Station Outfitted with Surveillance Cameras

CTA Rail Station Security CamerasIf you have some underlying fear about "Big Brother" always watching you, you may want to reconsider ever going into any one of the hundreds of rail stations in Chicago. That is because Chicago leaders recently sent word to both CTA riders and criminals that each and every one of the 143 rail stations in the city are now equipped with multiple security cameras.

The cameras can't and won't stop criminals in the act, unfortunately, due to the fact that they do not provide live feeds to the Chicago Police Department or the CTA control center. It is hoped that these cameras will serve as a deterrent to criminals and also help police catch criminals brave enough to strike under the watchful eyes of the camera after they have committed the crime.

These new cameras, along with increased police patrols of the transit system, will also give transit riders an added sense of security, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuael, CTA President Forrest Claypool and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy at the CTA Clinton station serving the Green and Pink Lines.

Footage from some of the newly deployed cameras on the platform station at Clinton and Lake Streets was recently used to arrest a suspect who attacked a woman and stole her purse in an elevator a block away from the station. The same criminal was also previously caught on surveillance using a stolen credit card. The camera evidence also connected him to a car burglary two weeks earlier near CTA headquarters.

A total of 1,735 cameras were recently installed at 78 stations that previously had no cameras whatsoever. The work, which began in June and was scheduled for completion by year's end, wrapped up six weeks ahead of schedule according to officials. A total of 65 stations already had cameras.

The project, which was federally funded, brings the grand total number of cameras to nearly 3,000, all of which are high-resolution security cameras. The number of cameras at each location varies depending on station layout and other factors according to officials. "We feel like this is about as close a saturation as you can get," Claypool stated.

The new cameras have already contributed to nearly 47 arrests of suspects who robbed or attacked passengers on the CTA system, as well as other crimes against people near CTA property in the last five months. The string of crimes includes three slayings near CTA property as well. Over 700 of the new 5000 Series rail cars that the CTA is putting into service are also outfitted with cameras. Those on-board cameras will eventually provide real-time video to police and the CTA according to officials.

Source: Chicago Tribune - CTA says its rail stations now all have surveillance cameras

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