Are you ready to enjoy your holidays? Before leaving your home make sure you follow some basic safety tips so you can relax 100% while you are away.
The Chicago Transit Authority’s trains and buses are a great way to reach your summer destinations. But like all big cities, Chicago’s has its share of violence and theft and even the most seasoned commuters can fall prey to pick-pocketing and attacks while using the CTA.
The next time you board your CTA bus or the “L” keep these essential safety tips in mind:
Don’t flaunt it
Break the habit of patting your pockets or purses to make sure if your wallet is there. According to the CTA, this actually lets thieves know the exact location of your valuables.
It sounds like a given, but it needs to be said. Always keep your wallet in a safe location, like the inside of a jacket or the inside pocket of a purse.
Guys, always keep your wallet in a front pocket instead of a back pocket. Ladies, if your purse straps are long enough, wear it diagonally across your body so someone can’t snatch it. If not, keep your hands on your purse at all times. Don’t let it sit idly on your lap.
The CTA is no place to show off your latest tech device or Valentine’s Day present. Try to conceal your expensive belongings. This Chicago Tribune article on CTA smartphone thefts might put things into perspective.
Have a separate holder for your transit card (somewhere other than your wallet). This eliminates the need to take out your wallet whenever you need to use your card.
These chapters may help you get inside the mind of a pick-pocketer.
You snooze, you lose
Don’t sleep! Especially on its slow days, the “L” might seem like a good place to catch some extra z’s, but CTA advises you to be awake and alert.
Don’t get so engrossed in your phone, iPod or book that you tune out the rest of the bus or train. Always pay attention to what’s going on around you.
CTA warns commuters to be wary of noisy passengers arguing or causing a commotion. This could be staged to distract you.
Do your part
According to the CTA website, commuters can help keep buses and trains safe by watching for:
- Someone hiding things on CTA property
- Unattended packages
- People other than authorized CTA employees on the rail tracks
- Someone wearing unusual clothing for the time of year (i.e. a winter parka in the summer)
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as smoke, an odd smell, or suspicious activities you should immediately tell the bus driver, rail operator or call 911.
The CTA says, “If it’s unwanted, it’s harassment.” If you feel threatened in any way you should move toward light areas and people, or move to another part of the bus or to another rail car. Tell the rail or bus operator that you are being harassed immediately.
CTA recently announced they will double the number of surveillance cameras at CTA rail stations to about 3,000. There will also be an increased police presence over the next few months to keep violence and theft at bay.
Be sure to bookmark the official CTA website to stay up to date on official safety information (and for all things CTA). For additional coverage of the CTA’s new security plans visit the CTA Tattler blog.