The CTA plans to equip almost every train with crime-fighting surveillance technology under a new push to install high-definition security cameras on more than 840 older rail cars, officials said.
The $13.9 million in upgrades, funded by a federal Homeland Security grant, is in addition to the standard inclusion of security cameras on 706 new rail cars being delivered to the CTA through 2015, officials said.
The transit agency is installing four cameras capable of panning 360 degrees and one video recorder on each of its 2600 and 3200 series rail cars, officials said. The installations began last week and are scheduled to be complete in September.
Working with the Chicago Police Department, the CTA eventually plans to operate a real-time surveillance feed aboard trains so that law enforcement personnel can monitor suspicious activity or get a jump on pursuing criminals after they strike, officials said.
But funding isn’t available yet for live surveillance, officials said. The cameras and video aboard trains, as well as the cameras and video devices at all 145 CTA rail stations, store the images for downloading later.
Officials couldn’t provide an update on CTA crime statistics Friday, saying new data will be available soon.
But thefts, which rank as the No. 1 crime on the transit system, have been increasing. The Tribune reported in late October that thefts on the CTA increased 16 percent in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, according to Chicago police data. Thieves especially target riders carrying smartphones and tablets.
Thefts also rose 42 percent from 2009 through 2011, according to the Tribune report.
Crimes photographed on the CTA’s new 5000 series rail cars have helped police arrest at least 14 suspects in connection with 15 cases over a recent eight-month period, CTA President Forrest Claypool said.
More than 3,600 cameras are deployed across the rail system, officials said. In addition, each bus has up to 10 cameras on board. The CTA operates about 1,800 buses.
The CTA has 590 of the 2600s, which were built from 1981 to 1987, and 256 of the 3200s, which were built from 1992 to 1993, according to CTA records.
The current CTA rail fleet numbers 1,286 cars, but the agency is gradually retiring two series, the 2200, which was delivered in 1969 and 1970 and totals 58 cars, and the 2400, delivered from 1976 to 1978 and numbering 192 cars. None of those cars will get cameras.
Next in line for retirement are about 200 of the 2600s, but they will remain in service long enough to justify the camera investment, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. With full delivery of the 706 new 5000 series rail cars, the size of the CTA rail fleet will total about 1,350 cars, she said.
SITE: Jon Hilkevitch “Chicago Tribune” 09 Feb 2013 ” CTA adding cameras to older rail cars” Web address 15 Feb 2013 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-09/news/ct-met-cta-train-cameras-0210-20130210_1_rail-cars-cta-rail-twitter-jhilkevitch