DOWNTOWN — Fifty more officers are coming to CTA buses and trains as the city faces backlash over high-profile crimes on public transportation.
For months there’s been heavy attention paid to crimes on buses and trains — including a shooting at the UIC Blue Line station and the slaying of a man in a CTA tunnel this month — and public calls for the city and Police Department to do more to protect travelers.
In response, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the CTA and Chicago Police Department announced Friday 50 more officers will start patrolling CTA stations, trains and buses, joining hundreds of other officers already doing that work.
Earlier this month, the Police Department also started deploying SWAT officers on the CTA.
“Public transit is the great connector of our city, and residents and riders deserve a world-class public transportation system that is not only accessible, reliable and affordable, but most importantly safe,” Lightfoot said during the announcement.
The Police Department is also creating a detective unit for the CTA, officials announced Friday. The unit will work with patrolling officers and the CTA’s Security Department to prevent crime and solve those that do occur.
Also, a Strategic Decision Support Center — where officers use technology and experts to strategize on preventing and solving crime — will be added to the 1st District. The center will focus on crimes in the district and on the CTA.
The Mayor’s Office said crime has slightly decreased and arrests are up on the CTA compared to the same time last year, but the additional resources aim to give bus and train riders a “more secure, comfortable traveling experience.”
About 1.5 million people ride the CTA on an average weekday, and the agency’s buses make more than 18,000 trips and its trains 2,300 trips, according to the city.
“With more than 1 million daily riders, the safety and security of the traveling public are extremely important to us,” said interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck in the announcement. “Today’s transit safety enhancements puts Chicago in alignment with other major city transit systems across the country and allows us to leverage technology-based policing that has helped reduce crime and violence in Chicago for the last three years.”
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