Think like a criminal – not victim – when riding the CTA
When 68-year-old Sally Katona-King died from injuries suffered after being knocked down the stairs by a thief fleeing the CTA’s Fullerton stop with a stolen iPhone, she was the worst kind of victim – an innocent bystander.
Just two days after Katona-King’s death, a 58-year-old Evanston man on a northbound Purple Line train – one of close to 1.5 million daily CTA bus and rail riders – was punched in the head and had his laptop stolen. Two teen suspects were caught by Evanston police and released.
iPhone and other computer and smart gadget theft is on the rise in Chicago and nationwide, according to local authorities. While neither the CTA nor the Chicago Police Department track exactly how many of the devices are stolen, the total is high enough for Kevin O’Neil of the CTA Tattler blog to report a Brown Line train operator saying, “Please keep all electronic devices out of the view of the public. We have had complaints recently of several iPhones being stolen.”
Crime on the CTA increased 7.5 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, according to the Chicago Tribune, but robberies alone jumped 17.4 percent. These numbers are a bit lower than what O’Neil compiled from EveryBlock Chicago data back in January, but the bottom line is that all crime – robbery and theft, in particular – is up on the CTA, and gadgets are what thieves want.
Both O’Neil and the CTA have done an excellent job providing tips for CTA riders to protect themselves and their belongings. The first step to safety and security in any instance, however, is to be aware of the environment.
We often feel comfortable riding CTA trains and buses because it’s part of a routine, and our smartphones, tablets and laptops allow us to take our friends, family and office wherever we go. But it’s dangerous to become so engrossed in technology that we lose sight of what is going on in our immediate surroundings. Thieves spend their lives thinking of ways to take advantage of us, and we must – for the better – think like a criminal. Don’t make their jobs any easier.
And don’t let carelessness put the lives of innocents like Sally Katona-King at risk.