Chicago Transit Authority’s 21 Percent Jump In Reported Crime Brings Video Surveillance Cameras Into Focus

Video surveillance cameras are thought to be incredibly-effective deterrents to criminal activity. Over time, image resolution has improved, while costs have come down, leading to a proliferation of these devices all over America’s urban landscape.

Yet, a new analysis of such cameras and reported crime at Chicago Transit Authority rail stations probably has some wondering just how effective they really are in the fight against crime.

Art Golab and Rosalind Rossi reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon:

Even with $26 million in high-resolution cameras finally in full force last year, reported crime at CTA rail stations rose 21 percent, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows.

And compared with 2010 — well before most of the CTA’s current 3,600 rail station cameras were installed — station crime was up 32 percent

The good news is that while overall crime is up, violent crime is down 30 percent. And when all reported crime is counted, Chicago is close to achieving swift arrests in two of every three station crimes.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Via comments over at Second City Cop this morning, I hear at least one Chicago media outlet is running the same story as violent crime is down 30 percent on CTA trains.

Can’t say I’m really too surprised to find that out.

Golab and Rossi talked about the criminal activity in more detail. From the piece:

Also worth noting: Only five percent of CTA station crimes were categorized as “violent” by the FBI — ranging from murder to rape to strong-arm robbery — and such offenses dropped a substantial 30 percent between 2011 and 2012, the Sun-Times found. However, the arrest rate for those crimes also fell four percentage points over that period.

Other station crimes — a category that includes cell phone thefts, purse-snatchings, fare evasion, simple assault and drug crimes — were up 26 percent.

Combined with “violent” crimes, that translates into a 21 percent overall increase in station crime across the system’s 145 rail stations.

Sucks to hear criminal activity has picked up on the CTA. Then again, seeing that my girlfriend was recently pick-pocketed aboard one of their buses, I can’t say that I’m shocked.

Are video surveillance cameras effective deterrents to crime? I’m guessing they are. Will the cameras put an end to criminal activity like some politicians may want you to believe? No way- if only because there will always be criminals who just don’t care they’re being filmed while carrying out their dirty deeds.

Don’t let a location full of security cameras lull you into a false sense of security. Remember- you and you alone are ultimately responsible for your personal safety.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Golab, Art and Rossi, Rosalind. “More CTA cameras haven’t stopped increase in crime.” Chicago Sun-Times. 25 Feb. 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/18393808-761/more-cta-cameras-havent-stopped-increase-in-crime.html). 26 Feb. 2013.

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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