Red Line ridership low but violent crime through the roof
Loop North News

Crime & Safety

(Above) CTA Red Line station at Lake Street, where Chicago police responded on March 25 to a report of a 48-year-old man attacked by another passenger on a southbound train. Wikimedia Commons. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

4-Apr-21 – CTA ridership remains sharply lower in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but violent crime reports along the transit agency’s backbone, the Red Line, are significantly higher this year than during normal times.

Analysis of city crime data shows robberies along the Red Line system between Roosevelt and Howard are up 80 percent this year compared to the pre-COVID period of January 1 to March 15, 2020.

In fact, more robberies have been reported along that stretch of the CTA system this year than in any year since at least 2015, despite suppressed ridership.

Because crimes are reported by CTA station addresses and not by train line, the dataset also includes incidents on Brown, Purple, and Yellow Line trains at stations they share with the Red Line.

Most recently, police and fire crews responded to the Lake Street subway station at around 7:50 p.m. on March 25 after a man attacked another passenger while riding the Red Line. The 48-year-old victim told police the offender walked up on a southbound train and started arguing with him before the attack began.

An ambulance transported the victim to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with cuts to his hands and wrists. Police did not release any description of the offender.

Chicago Police Department

On March 23, police released surveillance images (above) of a group that allegedly beat and robbed a man at the Belmont station on March 14.

One category, crimes involving knives, are at a high point this year. Five of this year’s knife-related crimes were robberies, more than years 2015 through 2020 combined.

Overall, 34 robberies of all kinds were logged this year on the Red Line between Roosevelt and Howard as of March 15. Five of this year’s hold-ups were reported at the Howard terminal.

By comparison, that station logged only two robberies during the previous six years combined.

• Contact CWB Chicago at


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