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CTA Boss: Surveillance Cameras Could Help Deter Mob Attacks

A surveillance camera at a CTA train station. (Credit: CBS)

A surveillance camera at a CTA train station. (Credit: CBS)

dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – The head of the Chicago Transit Authority said he hopes surveillance cameras aboard CTA trains and buses, and at CTA stations, will act as a deterrent to more mob attacks like the ones that occurred this past weekend.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports CTA President Forrest Claypool said the CTA recently added about 2,000 cameras to its surveillance network.

CTA cameras were operating last Saturday when a mob of teenagers attacked a man who tried to retrieve a cell phone the group had stolen from his wife, while at a downtown Red Line station.

“You saw the pictures in the paper today of the Red Line incident you’re describing. We have almost studio-quality photographs of the offenders,” Claypool said. “Those are plastered all over the place, and I think it’s just a matter of time that they’re tracked down and captured; just like a similar group of thugs were captured because of our video surveillance cameras on the Green Line about a week ago.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

Police have released surveillance camera images of a group of about six teenagers who beat up a 23-year-old man on the Red Line near the State-Lake subway stop on Saturday. One of the teens had stolen an iPhone 4S from the man’s female friend after she dropped it on the train.

When the man told the teen to return the iPhone to the woman, the teens began punching him in his face. They then fled the train at the State-Lake subway station, where surveillance cameras recorded them as they ran away.

Claypool admitted CTA cameras won’t always be able to alert authorities to crimes as they’re happening, but he said they will help identify criminals responsible for muggings and other attacks.

“A lot of the offenders are repeat offenders, so one or two individuals, or a group will commit a lot of crime,” he said. “So, if you use that surveillance technology to capture them quickly and take them off the street, then you’ve really taken away a lot of crime. And eventually the bad guys are gonna figure out that we’re watching them.”

CTA surveillance images also helped police arrest two men in a recent knife attack against four Guardian Angels at the Clark-Division stop.

Claypool is the guest on this weekend’s edition of “At Issue,” which airs at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday on WBBM Newsradio 780 and 105.9 FM.