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CTA Doubling Security Guards On Trains, Buses And Adding More Cops Amid Uptick In Crime

The CTA has struggled with a variety of issues — including an increase in crime and people urinating and smoking on public transportation — as ridership fell during the pandemic.

Passengers wait for an arriving Forest Park-bound CTA Blue Line train at the CTA Jackson Blue Line station in the Loop on Feb. 25, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The CTA is doubling its number of unarmed security guards and adding more police officers to trains and buses amid an uptick in issues on public transportation, officials announced Wednesday.

The CTA has struggled with a variety of problems — including an increase in crime and people urinating and smoking on public transportation — as ridership fell during the pandemic. In response, more uniformed, unarmed security guards will start patrolling trains, buses and platforms within the next few weeks. Their impact will “be felt systemwide,” CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said during a news conference.

The guards will get conflict resolution and de-escalation training, and they’ll enforce CTA rules, which prohibit smoking, harassing other riders and playing loud music, according to a Mayor’s Office news release.

The guards will not be able to arrest people, but they’ll work with police officers when necessary, Carter said. They’ll also receive training on providing resources to people experiencing homelessness who are on public transportation, and they’ll learn the basics of the CTA so they can answer riders’ questions, Carter said.

RELATED: Smoking, Urination And ‘Unruly Behavior’ Is On The Rise On Trains, CTA Riders Say. But Will Private Security Fix Problems?

Guards will be on the CTA 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Carter said.

The Police Department will also have more officers and supervisors patrol busy rail lines. The department’s experts are analyzing crime trends at various stations, train and bus lines and times to determine where officers are needed most, Supt. David Brown said.

Beyond patrolling the lines, the officers will focus on gang and drug crimes on public transportation, according to a Mayor’s Office news release.

“… We want to make sure the transit experience is not only safe but clean and something we all can be proud of,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the news conference.

The CTA’s board approved contracts this week for the security teams, so the agency will create those partnerships soon, Carter said. He would not say how many guards the CTA currently employs, though he said their ranks will more than double with the changes.

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