Security Camera Installation

CTA System Security 

Your safety and security is our No. 1 priority.

Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a number of steps have been taken to improve your safety and security while on CTA, including: increased police patrols and undercover operations targeting pick-pocket theft rings, vandalism and other crimes; expansion and upgrades to our extensive surveillance camera network, which consists of roughly 32,000 cameras– making it one of the most comprehensive surveillance camera networks among U.S transit agencies.

What's new:

CTA's Safe & Secure program logo

In an effort to provide you with an even more secure and comfortable riding experience, in February 2018 we announced Safe & Secure  - a multi-faceted $33 million project to modernize and further expand our already extensive surveillance camera network, while also making other security improvements over the next few years, including: 

  • Upgrading more than 3,800 older-model rail station cameras to HD
  • Installing new video displays at rail stations to aid personnel in monitoring station and customer activity
  • New lighting, repairs and other improvements at all 146 rail stations
  • Adding HD cameras to more than 100 CTA bus turnaround areas


Safe & Secure is funded by a new, innovative fee on ride-hailing services championed by Mayor Emanuel, the first such fee in the country dedicated to public transportation improvements. (More info...).

Cameras aiding in the fight against crime

Our camera network is an invaluable tool for police and their investigation into crimes committed either on or near CTA properties. CTA cameras have been successfully used in detecting crime patterns and serial offenders involved in both reported and unreported crimes, and have even led to the apprehension of offenders through real-time, remote policing missions.

Video Assisted Arrests
Since June 2011, when we began tracking video assisted arrests, CTA’s cameras have aided police in the investigation, arrest and charging of at least


Individuals, in connection with at least


cases where a crime was committed on or near CTA properties through December 2017.


Recent arrests and convictions

Below is a sampling of some arrests made over the last couple years, where CTA's surveillance camera aided police in their investigation of crimes committed on or near CTA properties:

Sampling of video assisted arrests for 2016




About our camera network


May 2014: Completed a $14 million project to retrofit our existing rail fleet – more than 840 rail cars – with more than 3,300 360-degree high definition cameras. These cameras are in addition to those on our newest generation of rail cars – the 5000-series, which were pre-equipped with multiple surveillance cameras. CTA's entire rail passenger fleet is now fully equipped surveillance cameras.


Security Camera Room

October 2012: Created a new, secured access video surveillance room for use by CTA security investigators and local police to maximize the effectiveness of our comprehensive camera network and ensure they have quick and easy access to footage and live camera feeds. The space is approximately 2,800 square feet and more than 12 times larger than the previous space and provides investigators access to 20 terminals with 35 displays and a quad-screen video panel to view video from rail stations, rail cars and buses.


June - November 2011: CTA's rail system camera network more than doubled in size under an aggressive and unprecedented effort to install more than 1,800 additional cameras in rail stations and platform in less than six months to ensure every rail station was equipped with multiple, high-definition cameras. These cameras can provide a live-feed to the CTA Control Center and the Office of Emergency Management (OEMC).


Since 2003: Each bus in CTA's  fleet is equipped with multiple surveillance cameras. Today, CTA's buses feature upwards of 12 cameras on each vehicle depending on model.

System security

Behind the scenes, there are ongoing and extensive efforts under way to prevent crime and to investigate and prosecute criminals who commit crimes on CTA properties. Our security department works closely with Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) Public Transportation Unit, a dedicated unit to CTA, on a number of ways to keep our riders and employees safe each day.

CPD and the suburban police departments of Evanston, Forest Park and the Oak Park all provide police protection on our buses, trains and stations via the deployment of both uniformed and plainclothes officers, as well as surveillance missions and other policing strategies, including:

  • CPD Transit Rider Interaction Program (TRIP) Pilot: An outgrowth of CTA’s Rules of Conduct, the TRIP pilot program is a new effort by CPD to further enforce rules on the CTA and create a comfortable and safe environment for customers. The pilot, which launched in March 2017, includes uniformed officers at various rail station platforms. Officers board arriving trains to both serve as a deterrent to crime and also respond to any incidents or inquiries from customers. The effort does not impact service and is designed to increase visibility and awareness of ongoing safety and security efforts on the system.
  • Farecard Fraud Prevention: In an effort to prevent fraudulent use of reduced and free ride farecards on our system, which can cost potentially millions of dollars in lost fares, since 2014 we’ve been deploying K-9 security teams to rail stations to perform card user verification checks to ensure that the user of the reduced or free ride card is the actual person named/shown on the card. These checks only occur when a turnstile indicates that a free or reduced fare card (such as U-Passes) is used.
  • CPD Mobile Explosives Screening Team (MEST)*: This federally funded counterterrorism and security initiative was launched in 2014 and is facilitated by CPD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Each week, MEST team members are deployed to various CTA rail stations to perform random explosives screenings, which simply require a quick swab of the exterior of bags carried by customers. These random screenings take less than a minute to conduct and do not include identification checks. Passengers who refuse a bag check are denied entry to the station.
  • CTA K-9 Unit Patrols: Additional security personnel to supplement CPD efforts of maintain safety and security on the system.

    *NOTE: While there is no known threat to CTA or the region’s public transportation facilities, Chicago along with a number of other major cities, including transit agencies in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Boston are taking part in similar programs to ensure the safety of residents and passengers.


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