CTA train system has more robberies this year than many pre-COVID years, but arrests are up, too

CTA train passengers are being robbed this year at a rate far higher than many recent years — and that’s even though ridership is down sharply during the COVID pandemic. But better collaboration between police and the transit agency is leading to more arrests, too.

Through April 20, Chicago police logged 94 robberies on CTA trains, platforms, and stations citywide, according to city data. That’s equal to or more than the number of cases recorded during many recent years with normal ridership levels. There were 125 incidents during the period last year, 119 in 2019, and 105 in 2013.

Most recently, a 35-year-old man was punched in the head and robbed by an offender who approached him on a CTA train near the Clark-Lake station in the Loop around 7:05 p.m. Thursday, a CPD spokesperson said.

Earlier in the week, a 23-year-old man was stabbed and robbed on a Purple Line train at Adams-Wabash. And a 29-year-old woman was robbed at knifepoint by the same offender on a Brown Line train near Merchandise Mart the next day. Police announced charges against a 15-year-old boy in those attacks Thursday night.

Police this year have made a significant number of arrests in connection with violent crimes on the train system after improving its collaboration with CTA on investigations and in-progress crimes.

On April 12, prosecutors charged a five-time convicted robber with violently attacking two women in separate robberies on the Blue Line.

The next day, a 29-year-old man was charged with robbing two women as they sat on a bench at the Roosevelt Red Line station Sunday afternoon. Prosecutors say Darrell Wyatt pointed a gun at one victim’s chest while three juveniles, including a 13-year-old boy, helped him rob the women.

During one week this month, police arrested three people who are accused of committing separate robberies on the train lines downtown.

And yet another CTA robbery suspect is expected to appear in bond court Friday. He was arrested at the Jackson Red Line platform Wednesday night after police surveillance camera operators recognized him from an earlier attack.

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