Emanuel touts decision to add security cameras at CTA stations

Tribune reporter

With potential CTA fare hikes and service cuts looming for 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared at a North Side train station today to tout the installation of extra security cameras he said have made platforms safer.

Standing at the CTA Red Line Loyola station, Emanuel defended a $15 million investment in 1,500 new cameras, 1,113 of which have been installed. Chicago police announced this week that camera footage helped them make an arrest in a string of robberies in which a man brandished a shotgun, including one that occurred on the Loyola train platform.

And surveillance footage from the Armitage Brown Line station was used in the investigation that led to charges against Lincoln Park resident Christopher Love in the stabbing death of a woman this week in a room at the Felix Hotel in River North, according to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who joined Emanuel.

In addition to the camera expansion, Emanuel also has recently announced efforts to more efficiently clean and repair 100 CTA stations and started implementing a program to install digital screens with bus arrival times at bus shelters, an initiative first announced under Mayor Richard Daley. Emanuel said these moves are helping make sure what money the CTA has goes toward riders rather than bureaucracy.

"First of all, do I think it's right to invest in technology? We just had in the last week two incidents where the technology was essential to providing security and also apprehending two individuals in these crimes," Emanuel said when asked whether the camera expansion makes sense in the face of a CTA 2012 budget deficit of about $277 million.

"As both (CTA Board Chairman) Terry Peterson and (CTA President) Forrest Claypool have showed, we have some choices to make, and they'll lay out their budget," the mayor said.

Claypool has not ruled out service cuts or fare hikes as he seeks to balance the CTA budget.


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