GRAND BOULEVARD — After at least two recent shootings on or near the Red Line, some South Siders say they’re feeling worried about their safety.
The latest shooting occurred around 7:50 p.m. Tuesday near the 47th Street Red Line station, police said. A man riding a northbound train got into an argument with another man, then shot the victim in his back and legs, police said. The victim was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in serious condition, police said.
Chicago police Supt. David Brown said surveillance video caught the attack and the alleged shooter running from the platform, according to the Sun-Times. Detectives are investigating and no one has been arrested.
Also near the Red Line, a 46-year-old man was fatally shot June 15 as he stood outside of the 79th Street Station.
Englewood resident Napoleon English, who has been using the Red Line for the last 30 years, said Wednesday he’s considering using an electric bike to commute to his downtown job because of the violence.
“Even with riding a bike I’m still exposed, but I’m scared to the point where I’m willing to do it,” English said. “I’m seeing people getting hurt, people getting killed. It’s terrible. I’ve had people staring at me, saying threatening words and I just walk away real quick. One time a person spat on me after he asked me for a cigarette. I told him I didn’t smoke. I just walked away.”
Violence Interrupters Founder Tio Hardimann and Tree of Life Justice League Founder Eric A. Russell demanded “a comprehensive plan” from city, county and state officials to reduce violent crime on public transit.
“We’re drowning in a bloody sea of gun violence and the violence continues to increase on public transportation. The trap door has fell out and none of us are safe. We need more than sensible gun laws. We need the big three to come up with a safety plan,” Russell said.
Hardimann, who has been patrolling CTA stations and train lines with a group of volunteers, said they still need help from the city to deescalate potentially dangerous situation.
CTA has deployed unarmed security guards and added more cops to trains and buses in response to violence, smoking and other unruly behavior. A CTA spokesperson said 200 guards patrol the system seven days a week with plans to add 100 more as they complete training. The CTA also relies on more than 32,000 surveillance cameras to prevent and investigate crime, two-way radios that connect to the CTA’s control center and city’s 9-1-1 center, along with other strategies to keep riders and employees safe.
“The safety and security of public transit riders is the No. 1 priority for both the CTA and the Chicago Police Department …” transit agency officials said in a statement. “CPD and CTA are always looking at additional resources, different deployment strategies, use of new and emerging technologies and other ideas to boost crime deterrence.”
But many riders have said they’ve not noticed increased security nor feel it has made public transit safer. Employees and security workers have also said they don’t feel safe intervening in tense situations.
English and Nia Johnson — another Red Line regular — said they’ve not seen security guards during their commutes. Johnson said she is also fearful after witnessing fights and arguments on the train, but said the Red Line is her only way of getting around the city.
“We need more police. When something happens, there’s no one around and CTA workers are asleep in their stations,” Johnson said.
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