CHICAGO (CBS) – A search continued Friday night for two men who stabbed three CTA passengers on the downtown Red Line subway.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, the attack highlights a growing crime problem at the Chicago Transit Authority.
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Imagine standing on a platform waiting for an “L” train and someone trying to rob you. In one case around 9 p.m. Thursday, it happened to exactly one man.
He was standing on a platform at the Jackson Red Line stop when two knife-wielding men demanded his backpack and watch. The victim handed over his items – but he was still stabbed in the ear.
Police said the attackers also stabbed two other people as they fled the scene. A victim stabbed in the neck.
And what happened on Thursday night is happening more often – as crime on the CTA is at its highest level in six years.
When CTA passengers board, they simply want to get to their destination. And whether they’re on the ‘L’ or a bus, there’s a chance they’ll see crime around them.
When CBS 2 dug into CTA’s crime data, it revealed that on average, one purple crime had occurred every day for the past 30 days on CTA property. There were 49 violent crimes in total – 13 of them occurred on buses and 36 on trains.
We’ve heard of those who have been attacked on trains – like a woman who hid her identity after a scary ride on the Green Line at East Garfield Park in November.
“Just around the Kedzie stop, an individual got on the train,” the woman said. “He wasn’t wearing a mask and he was playing loud music on his phone – and he was sitting across from me.”
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The woman said she decided to move to the back of the car, but it sparked a dispute that would turn violent. The woman said she pressed the emergency button, and the man pulled out a stick and started waving it. As the train was stopped at California Station, the woman went to get her bag to get off the train safely – but the suspect took a hit.
” I do not know what happened. I just saw my face going right, going left,” the woman said in November. “People started gasping; saying stuff, and I saw the blood flowing.
We also saw a bus driver beaten up by a mob near downtown Millennium Park in early December, and heard from CTA union representatives demanding better police protection.
“Our members come to work. I want them to be able to go home as they came. Any of us should be,” said Eric Dixon, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 for trains, in August. “And so we’re putting that front and center to let people know we’re tired. We are tired of our members being attacked.
Data shows 2021 ended with 624 violent crimes on trains and buses. This represents an increase from the 579 reported in 2020.
Just six years ago there were 450 violent crimes for all of 2015.
Violent crimes include assault, battery, sexual assault and theft.
No one was in custody Friday night during the Red Line stabbing attack the night before.
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We asked Chicago police what, if any, security measures are changing regarding the spike in CTA crimes. They told us they weren’t discussing specific deployment strategies.