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Crime Up On The CTA

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Sep 14, 2010 3:40PM

A CTA pickpocketing ad
According to a report in today's Sun-Times, crime on the CTA is on the rise. From 2006 to 2009, overall crime increased by 26 percent; the most significant spike seems to be in robberies which increased by 77 percent in that time. And the increase in overall crime from last year to this year is on pace to come in at around 12 percent. Downtown and the North Side are the most popular hot spots for these transit thieves.

The most frequent target areas for CTA crimes: downtown and the Near North Side. The attraction is obvious: crowds, with tourists and locals often too wrapped up in their iPods or reading to pay attention.

L stops such as Jackson -- where riders can connect between the Blue and Red lines -- and Roosevelt -- with connections to the Orange, Green and Red lines -- seem to be particularly popular with thieves, according to Michael Fuentes, national director of the Guardian Angels volunteer crime-fighting group. The police did not provide crime data at specific L stops.

Not that crime hasn't been at the front of the minds of those running the CTA. From security cameras to anti-theft ads, it's been on the agenda as of late. The problem now, though, is to be a little more pro-active about preventing it. Of course, the best offense is a good defense and that begins with you, dear CTA riders. Stay alert and all that but, more than anything, be smart. While we encourage you to stay up to date with news by, say, checking out our mobile site, don't go flashing around those iPhones and iPads and Droid phones too much. We won't always be able to count on the swift justice of the Guardian Angels.