Violence on Chicago’s trains


The photograph on the left is of the entrance to the Jackson CTA Red Line station in Chicago. Police blocked off the station after a shooting occurred on February 17, 2020. Left photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. The photo on the right is of the L train and CTA platform located on East Lake Street. Right photo courtesy of Haley Maser. Alaina Berk, Freshman Tilaya Orsborn, Sophomore Ethan Higgins, Senior Josh Gualberto, Junior On March 1, New York implemented a ban on plastic bags to improve the environment. Photo courtesy of Forbes.

Haley Maser, Views Editor

 In the city of Chicago, CTA violence is on the rise, a reality that may alarm future college students who plan to rely on the transportation system. The L train is a popular resource for many downtown commuters, with numerous stops near Chicago’s universities. If not rectified, the surge of crime on the rail line can affect many Joliet West seniors who plan on commuting to the city in the future.

A sharp increase in crime has plagued the Chicago Transit Authority in recent years. According to NBC5, violent crime rates on the CTA have doubled in the past six years, while thefts have seen an even larger increase. Not only has general crime dramatically risen, but the arrest rates for thefts in 2019 were only 4%. Though the raw statistics are startling, the individual stories raise even more concern. On February 5, a man was shot in an apparent robbery on a blue-line train, which had arrived at the UIC-Halsted stop. UIC, or University of Illinois at Chicago, is one of the many populous colleges in the downtown area. Not long after, another incident took place, this time only 0.2 miles from a DePaul University building. A man was fatally shot while two others were injured in a subway station on February 16. Theft and violence in CTA stations and trains are only increasing, and measures are going to need to be taken to prevent further incidents.

In response to the recent crime influx, the Chicago Police Department has decided to make changes in regards to police presence in the city’s transportation centers. Fifty additional police officers will be positioned in train stations, and four detectives will be dedicated to exclusively investigating CTA related crimes. To make an even larger statement, officers will now ride various trains to further display that violence and theft will not be tolerated. While these new measures are a commendable step in cracking down on dangerous travel conditions, this rampant crime remains a concern for many. With so many attacks occurring within a few minutes of major universities and on trains that many students rely on, this issue hits home for numerous people. “It definitely makes me feel that I have to take extra precautions,” commented Barbara Lunsford, a Joliet West senior who is considering attending Chicago based colleges. Despite the measures being taken by the Chicago police, the rise in crime is a serious issue. Future college students need to be diligent and aware of their surroundings when commuting to Chicago schools.