Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Transit Authority officials said today that by May 31, one or more safety cameras will have been installed at every one of the CTA's 144 rail stations.
"We have reached an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to make our transit system as safe as it can be. We know that cameras deter violence in our neighborhoods. They can be equally effective on public transportation," Daley said in a news conference with CTA officials held at the Paulina station on the Brown Line.
The Mayor also said that by the end of the year CTA plans to have nearly 3,000 cameras installed system-wide.
"Having cameras at every station is a valuable tool, both for security purposes and from an operations perspective as well. Real-time video is available to CTA's Control Center and can assist in the event of a service disruption," said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez. "The CTA is committed to putting the tools in place to increase the safety of its customers and employees, and reaching this milestone is a step in the right direction."
Daley said that since 2002, the CTA has made great progress in upgrading its infrastructure to include the addition of safety cameras. And so far this year, they have installed about 550 cameras, increasing coverage to more than 1,800.
The Mayor pointed out that the CTA station cameras build on many previous steps the City has taken to create a camera safety network that helps law enforcement and emergency personnel in their mission of serving and protecting residents.
"And, most importantly, Chicago residents have embraced the cameras. Every day, we receive requests for more cameras from neighborhoods all around the city. And people complain if a camera is going to be removed," Daley said.
The CTA has received $22.6 million in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds since 2006 to enhance its security and surveillance network and is using a portion of those funds to expand camera coverage on its rail system.
After each station across the system has at least one high definition camera installed, additional cameras will be installed across the rail system beginning with the Loop stations and along the Brown and Red lines by this fall. All stations will have full deployment of cameras by the end of the year.
The CTA is investing approximately $19 million to install and network security cameras across the system. The remainder of the funds will be used to further enhance the security network by improving the video management system.
All the projects will be paid for by a combination of DHS, Federal Transit Administration and Regional Transportation Authority funds.
"We're appreciative that the federal government recognizes the importance of technology – like security cameras – in keeping the system safe," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Terry Peterson. "These Department of Homeland Security grants are allowing the CTA to make significant upgrades to the security and surveillance network that benefits CTA, its customers and the communities served by CTA."
Daley said that later this year CTA will launch a pilot program to see whether it's feasible to retrofit CTA's rail cars with safety cameras. The CTA's new 5000-series rail cars come equipped with cameras.
"Every day, the Chicago Transit Authority provides more than 1.7 million rides on buses and trains – moving people to and from work and throughout the city. They want a system that provides on-time, safe and reliable service -- one that works for them," the Mayor said.
A modern public transportation system is vital to our economic security and to our ability to recruit new businesses and create new jobs. At the end of the day, as the leaders of the CTA agree, what's important is that we use every available tool to have a system of public transportation that works for our people," he said.
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