Chicago Transit expands railcar surveillance

Posted on February 11, 2013

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) began a seven-month long project to install high-definition cameras in approximately 850 existing, older model railcars to assist law enforcement in crime-fighting efforts and deter crime.

The project is a continuation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to improve the safety and security across the CTA, while making long-term investments to ensure Chicago is supported and driven by a first-rate transit system.

“Having a world-class public transportation system is a key goal of my administration, and making sure that Chicagoans can have a safe experience on board our trains and buses is a top priority,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These additional cameras will work directly with the many other upgrades we’ve made to improve the experience of our passengers, so they can get to work and school smoothly and safely.”

CTA’s newest generation of railcars, the 5000 series, has cameras on every car. Those railcars have been deployed on the Pink Line and are currently replacing railcars on the Green and Red lines. Now, CTA will retrofit its older 2600- and 3200 series railcars with new surveillance cameras. Each railcar will be equipped with an on-board recording device and four 360-degree high definition cameras, which provide the same amount of surveillance coverage as the seven cameras installed on the 5000 series railcars.

“We’re already seeing what impact cameras on all CTA railcars will have in deterring crimes and assisting police in the apprehension of those committing crimes on and off our system,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “In the span of eight months – with less than 15 percent of rail fleet equipped with cameras and operating on three of our eight rail lines – images pulled from our 5000 series railcars have assisted police in the apprehension of at least 14 offenders in connection with 15 cases. With more cameras, we will be able to step up our efforts to fight crime on the system.”

President Claypool has systematically added thousands of cameras to the CTA’s video surveillance network. More than 3,600 cameras are now installed across the rail system, including train stations, and up to 10 cameras on each bus in a fleet of 1,800 vehicles. By late this year, the agency’s rail fleet of 5000-, 3200- and 2600 series railcars will all be equipped with multiple surveillance cameras and on-board recording devices, and hundreds of new camera-equipped 5000 series cars will have replaced older 2200 and 2400 series cars being gradually retired.

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