If you take advantage of rapid transit in Chicago, come Memorial Day, you’ll be on camera. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is putting cameras in all 144 of its rapid transit stations by the end of May. Chicago already has what the Chicago Sun-Times has referred to as, “nation’s most extensive and integrated camera network.” By the end of the year, the city’s buses and rail stations alone will have over 3,000 security cameras.
The cameras will start out being placed at station entrances and eventually, each station will have 20 cameras total. The CTA will also explore whether or not they want to add cameras to older rail cars (newer cars already come with cameras).
Said CTA President, Richard Rodriguez, to the Chicago Sun-Times, “If there’s something that needs a closer look, we’re able to zoom in and get a better view. The high-definition cameras help us get a very clear picture. As more cameras are added. You’ll be able to go through a number of different camera views from any given station …Video images provided help first-responders to assess situations and act accordingly, whether it’s a service disruption, a medical or a police emergency.”
The $41.6 million camera project is being funded by Homeland Security, with the CTA investing a little less than half. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said during a press conference that the cameras will be monitored and will be used to assist in emergencies and evacuations. He also said the cameras will be used to help monitor what’s going on during the hours right after school, when the bus lines see a large group of student passengers.
But the main reason for installing the cameras is to help solve crimes after they’ve been committed. Said Daley, “Say someone commits a robbery, runs to the CTA trying to get on the CTA. They come through here. When they have cameras, we’ll get their pictures coming in. If it’s an armed robbery, a home invasion or a burglary — whatever it is. If they’re in a car driving down, a camera will pick them up.”
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