Your safety and security is our No. 1 priority.
The safety and security of public transit riders is the No. 1 priority for both the CTA and the Chicago Police Department.
The Chicago Police Department provides law enforcement for the CTA, primarily though the Public Transportation Section, a unit of officers dedicated solely to our bus and train system. We supplement those efforts with unarmed security guards and our extensive security-camera network, which now boasts more than 33,000 cameras. We have a strong partnership with CPD that addresses crime prevention in multiple ways.
This decades-long partnership is the most effective and prudent way to handle law enforcement on our transit system. Having CPD in stations and on buses and trains not only benefits our riders, but the City as a whole, something that would not be achieved with an independent policing unit. We also benefit from officers and detectives from CPD districts patrolling and responding to our various rail stations and bus facilities.
CPD also operates a Strategic Decision Support Center (SDSC), staffed 24/7 by CPD. It features smart-policing technology and full connectivity to our extensive security-camera network, as well as detectives dedicated to CTA-related crime.
In March 2022, we announced significant, new crime-prevention resources: more-strategic deployment of CPD officers and a doubling of our contracted, unarmed security guards, from 150 to more than 300. This increased presence, along with our customer service assistants at every rail station, represent a large, wide-reaching team acutely focused on customer comfort and safety. More details on the City’s announcement can be found here.
See for yourself! There are numerous measures in place to help provide you a safe travel environment, some you can see, while others are behind the scenes. See here (.pdf) for more details.
Overall crime is low
The CTA is a safe system when compared to overall ridership. Currently, we carry nearly 1 million passengers every weekday, and incidents of crime are very low. In fact, crime on CTA is only a small fraction of overall crime city-wide. The overwhelming majority of rides taken on our system are without incident and safe.
According to statistics released by the Chicago Police Department (CPD), which provides law enforcement across the CTA system, crimes decreased across the board during the month of August:
- Overall transit crime was down 12% year to date and 35% compared to August 2022,
- Violent crime was down 16% year to date, and 13% month to date (August 2023 vs. August 2022)
Crime is not isolated to CTA nor is it unique to us: It is a broader issue affecting cities across the nation as well as every major transit system in the United States.
Our efforts to provide a more comfortable riding environment
We continue to invest in improvements to improve the customer experience.
Safe & Secure
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, 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
Learn more about the Safe & Secure program.
Refresh & Renew
Our Refresh & Renew program helps provide a cleaner, brighter and more comfortable travel environment for you and our employees. As part of this ongoing, cyclical program, we’re performing a wide variety of improvements inside and outside our rail stations, including graffiti removal; fencing repairs; turning temporary repairs into permanent fixes; replacing old/damaged signage; upgrading old lighting throughout the facilities with new, brighter LED lights, and so much more.
These improvements are part of our larger effort to provider a safer travel environment and encourage new and returning riders to take public transit for more than just to school or work. Together, these improvements and increased ridership, help deter others from engaging in unruly or even criminal activities.
In 2021, we invested $3.5 million in making improvements to nearly 90% of our rail stations, and in 2022, we’re investing $2.1 million improvements at nearly 30 rail stations. Read more about which stations will receive improvements next.
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.
Complimenting existing measures to promote security, and deter fare evasion and other crimes, we’ve recently added new public-view monitors above the fare gates at select rail stations.
The monitors, installed as part of pilot program, are intended to reinforce customers’ feeling of safety, by providing a view like security camera screens found in retail stores. These monitors, part of CTA’s extensive security-camera network, can act as a deterrent to those looking to misbehave or engage in unlawful activities on the system. The monitors are the latest tool being used as part of CTA’s comprehensive focus on safety and security for both riders and employees.
The screens include a “face detection” feature, which simply indicates with a red box that a human face has been detected. The cameras DO NOT use facial recognition and these screens are not connected to any software used by law enforcement.
Reporting misconduct or crimes on CTA
CTA encourages riders to always be aware of their surroundings while in any public setting. If the immediate safety of you or someone else is threatened, always call 911.
If you are a witness of any misconduct or crime while on our system, we ask that you report the matter to the appropriate authorities. We recognize that it’s not always easy to do so in the moment, which is why we also suggest reporting an incident once you’ve safely reached your station or destination.
How do I report?
During an emergency, if the immediate safety of you or someone else is threatened, always call 911. You can also request assistance from a CTA employee (i.e., bus operator or rail station attendant) who can call/radio for police or emergency assistance.
For non-life threatening matters or service-related issues (i.e., smoking, vandalism, soliciting, harassment, dirty vehicle, etc.), options for reporting include:
- While in transit, you can notify your bus operator or the employee on duty at the station upon exiting your train.
- While on a train, use the Passenger Intercom Unit (PIU) located under the blue light in every railcar to speak with the train operator.
- At rail stations, you can either use the emergency call box located on platforms or press the Customer Assistance button on the booth in the mezzanine.
- Contact CTA Customer Service at 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282) or online at transitchicago.com/contact/.
What do I report?
Whether you notify 911, local police or CTA, be prepared to provide key details of the incident, including: date and approximate time, route/rail line, vehicle number, direction of travel, nearby intersection or rail station, as well as any other identifying details of the offenders or issue being reported.
Press releases and other information
- Mayor Lightfoot, CPD and CTA Officials Announce New Public Safety Measures for Nation’s Second Largest Transit System (press release, 03/09/2022)
- CTA Strategically Deploys Security Guards (press release, 03/04/2022)
- Mayor Lightfoot, CPD and CTA Announce Comprehensive Public Transit Safety Plan (press release, 02/28/2020)
- Mayor Emanuel and CTA Announce Entire Rail System Now 100 Percent Equipped with High-Definition Cameras (press release, 04/04/2019)
- Mayor Emanuel, CTA Continue Investments to Improve Transit Experience (press release, 10/29/2018)
- Mayor Emanuel Announces Upgraded Security Cameras as Part of Safe and Secure Program to Improve Safety and Security Across CTA System (press release, 08/13/2018)
- Mayor Emanuel and CTA Launch Safe and Secure Program (press release, 05/21/2018)
- CTA’s Statement on Rumors of Immigration ID Checks on CTA
- Mayor Emanuel, CTA Announce Launch of New Safe and Secure to Improve Safety and Security Across Transit System (press release, 02/27/2018)
- Mayor Emanuel, CTA Announce Crimes on CTA Decreased 25 Percent in 2015 (press release, 01/27/2016)
- Mayor Emanuel, CTA Announce Serious Crimes, Thefts Continue Downward Trend on CTA Trains, Buses (press release, 07/29/2014)
- 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)