Chicago’s Most Dangerous ‘L’ Stops
By Michael J. Petro
Chicago is a dangerous place. So dangerous that an outsider could easily envision a massive free-for-all with bullets flying everywhere. But anyone who’s spent any amount of time in the Windy City knows a far different reality.
Yes, Chicago violence is well documented. But the majority of the crime is isolated to certain areas of town – particularly in neighborhoods on the South Side and the West Side.
Chicago’s elevated transit system the “L” offers a convenient and efficient way to travel around the city and to certain outlying communities. In fact, the L has been safer than ever over the past five years since the Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) much-publicized expansion and installation of a $26 million surveillance network consisting of 3,600 cameras on rail cars and platforms.
An investigation by Chicago’s NBC5 found that violent crime rates across a recent three-year period fell by about 10 percent. At the same time, however, thefts on the CTA spiked more than 68 percent during the same period. Only 3 percent of those thefts resulted in an arrest.
In short, some areas in Chicago are safe, but others are dangerous. As such, riding the L with savvy can certainly help Chicago commuters and tourists avoid high-crime areas. Further, what L riders perceive to be the worst stations aren’t necessarily the most statistically dangerous.
Tribune readers recently voted for the best and worst of Chicago’s transit stations, including the smelliest, prettiest and rudest L stations. Readers find that the O’Hare station on the Blue Line smells of urine, but only 24 crimes were reported there in 2016, compared to 169 at the more fragrant Belmont Station.
So look close before you use public transportation because the numbers don’t lie. To help you become a savvy L passenger, we compiled – based on open data of Chicago crimes – a list of all reported crimes that occurred at CTA stations, platforms, on trains or within 100 feet of a station in recent years. The result is a thorough assessment of the most dangerous L stops.
Chicago ‘L’ Stop Accolades
- Most Dangerous L Stop: Belmont Red Line
- Stop with Most Assault and Batteries: Belmont Red Line
- Stop with Most Robbery and Burglaries: State/Lake Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple Line
- Stop with Most Sex Crimes: Tied: Belmont Red, Argle Red, Grand Red, Washington Blue
- Line with Most Crimes Reported: Red Line
- Safest Line: Yellow
Other Interesting Stats
- 47th Red Line was the only stop with a homicide reported
- Most common crime reported was Pickpocketing (698), second was theft under $500 (688)
- The Addison Brown line stop had the only report of Sexual Exploitation of a Child
- An arrest was reported in only 13.6% of the crimes
- 5% of the crimes reported occurred on a CTA train and 35.6% occurred at a CTA station or platform
For the interactive CTA map click here