Trains, Cameras, and Crime

Trains, Cameras, and Crime

The Chicago Transit Authority spent $26 million installing 3,600 surveillance cameras in stations and on trains throughout the rail system. What happened? Crime increased.

“Surveillance cameras aren’t cure-alls—they’re tools, and imperfect ones at that. They can be easily foiled by the latest in apparel technology, including hooded sweatshirts and hats. They tend to break. They are susceptible to dirt, and bad weather, and darkness. And even if a suspect is photographed, he still has to be identified and located, which, for overworked police officers, can be a daunting task. While there are more than a million closed-circuit surveillance cameras in London, a police report found that, in 2008, one crime was solved per 1,000 cameras—an abysmal ratio.”

— “Chicago Installed Thousands of Cameras on its Rail Platforms. Crime Jumped by 21 Percent.” Justin Peters, Slate

CTA’s response: It’s installing another 850 cameras.


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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One Response to “Trains, Cameras, and Crime”

  1. permanenttouristindc Says:

    We are quickly decaying into a surveillance state and the result is less, not more, security.

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