The CTA is shutting down Red Line service from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan beginning this Sunday. Some area residents who believe South Side “commuter” criminals are responsible for the surge in Wrigleyville and Boystown street crime expect the shutdown to result in lower crime rates and safer streets.
But they may be miscalculating.
19th district officers that we spoke with doubt that the lack of direct train service to the South Side will have an impact on the area’s criminal activity. Here’s why:
• The criminals still have to make their money. This has been a lucrative robbery market. The criminal element will find a way to get to “work.”
• While South Siders have contributed to the Wrigleyville and Boystown crime problem, the individuals who’ve been arrested for batteries and robberies over the past few years most often came from the West Side, Near North, and Uptown neighborhoods. Even the officers themselves fall victim to the “South Side” fallacy. When a gunman fled to the Addison L station after shooting a man across from Wrigley Field last month, police ordered a southbound Red Line train to be stopped and searched for the suspect. Only later did they learn that the shooter escaped on a northbound train.
• Most street criminals don’t take the train to the neighborhood. Many of them walk and even more drive to the area.