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Chicago's terrorist reply; your ideas?

Various reports today tell how Chicago is stepping up security on the entire mass transit system serving the vast region. Still the main focus is on the downtown area, particularly the stations and bridges where trains cross.

And how long will this last? Da Mayor says until Dubya backs down the security threat from orange. But that's reactive policing. We need to do more proactive policing, especially when the threat level is not so high.

The Trib story mentioned that one officer on a platform was making eye contact with everyone who entered the platform. We need more of that kind of stuff, instead of police leaning against poles talking to each other. For the first time ever, I actually saw police on the platform of the Morse stop on the Red Line. Unfortunately, I didn't see any on the subway platforms heading into the city. I found that unusual and somewhat troubling.

So, what are your ideas to increase and maintain good security on the CTA and other mass transit?

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Comments

I actually don't believe that Tribune line about the officer on "the platform" at the Grand station on the Red line. First of all, there are 2 platforms at Grand. Second, I took the Red line twice yesterday, heading in different directions, and I saw no one making eye contact with anyone else.

My theory is that the Tribune reported something they were told by CTA rather than something a reporter actually witnessed. I'm not saying that our city and CTA do not want to protect us--but we should be skeptical about we're "fed" to make us feel better.

Well, I saw two police officers at Merchandise Mart yesterday. They were looking at the people going through the turnstiles--from the food court. My thing is that if someone wants to blow up the train, they're going to blow the train up. Unless every person getting on the eL submits to an inspection of person and belongings, there's no way to make sure we're all safe. The eye contact thing sounds nice and I appreciate the effort. But how long will it last? I'm betting the vigilance will die down in a few weeks to a couple months.

I noticed no difference in security on my way in from the Blue line Western stop in Bucktown to the Washington Stop. I think I only saw one CTA employee at Western, and two cops walking down the stairs to the platform at Washington (not unsual). I heard none of the promised announcements urging "vigilance" as promised yesterday. I agree that if something is going to happen, it will.

Maybe our Mayor could try this out ... one can dream.

http://www.gothamist.com/attachments/Jen%20Chung/2005_07_bloombergtrain.jpg

Yesterday there was a cop t the Harrison red line stop that I think was tryyying to make eye contact with me, but he failed miserably because I'm not a very friendly person. I don't think terrorists are very friendly, either.

I heard one of the "extra vigilance" announcements yesterday at the Mart, but did it make me feel safer? Of course not. I think we all agree with Kimberli that public transit is never going to be totally secure - just think about the miles of unprotected space UNDER the tracks.

The smartest thing any of us could do is just be prepared: take a refresher CPR/first aid course, always know where the exits are, carry a list of emergency contact numbers in your wallet, know your blood type etc. Prepared does not = paranoia though.

The Red Line was messed up this morning. No trains came, then one going express went by. Finally ours came and was very crowded. Even though our train was delayed, we still waited extra long at each station. Maybe the CTA is taking extra precautions.

I think this is another example of the US taking reactive steps, as Kevin said, to appease the public. If the terrorists were going to attack here, why use the same MO they just used in London, knowing that the authorities will be looking out for that? Why not blow up a shopping mall food court or a baseball stadium while the police are stacked up at the El stations? There are just too many locations to secure without enough people or money to do it. So why worry about it at all?

At the Clinton stop on the Blue, the train stopped for a time as a bomb sniffing dog (this didn't appear to be one of the usual security dogs that we've all come to know) and a police officer investigated the car I was in.

They carefully approached a shoebox tucked behind an empty seat.

As the dog didn't respond to it at all, the officer - with a little reluctance - grabbed the box and tossed it out the door.

It was just a shoebox.

Clearly, being a bit more alert after an attack makes a lot of sense. But to assume that because there was an attack on public transit in one place it more likely to happen in another seems the height of stupidity to me.

We're I out to cause fear and disruption in Chicago I sure as hell wouldn't target the trains. In fact, since that's where all the attention is, far better to strike somewhere else. Navy Pier, for example. (Note to everyone, I'm not a terrorist - I'm just speculating here.)

Then again, I suppose there's a need to provide a sort of psychological comfort to the public. Though I don't like to admit it, I suppose I feel as comforted by a greater police presence on the L as anyone.

No noticeable increase in security at Union Station yesterday or this morning. I did notice a bit more of a police presence while out on the street at lunchtime yesterday, notably in front of the Wrigley Building (I found out later that there was a press conference being held there shortly after I wandered past) but this morning seemed to be back to normal.

If the CTA can't prevent food consumption, vandalism, assaults, batteries and the occasional rape and murder, most of which are committed openly, then why should we think they could prevent a coordinated, clandestine terrorist attack?

This morning, I saw three people with suitcases on a packed rush hour train (those Red Line delays were a bear). No one questioned them. There could have been 30 police officers on that train car and if one of those suitcases was a bomb, it still would have gone off.

The question is, do we want to be questioned and searched while riding the CTA to guard against the remote possibility of a terrorist attack?

Last night there were three cops at the Grand Red Line station when I got the train there just after 7 PM. They were up by the turnstiles and certainly did seem to be giving everyone at least a good visual once-over. No cops on the northbound platform though, nor were there any of the usual "Star Security" people on that platform.

There was indeed an officer at the Ogilvy Transportation Center yesterday evening who was eye-ing people. He made eye contact with many people including me. Yeah, it's just good to know that they're trying ... too bad it's just natural for us to let our guard down after awhile.

The police will never be everywhere. Keep your eyes open. Report stuff when you see it. Don't spend your time debating whether a cop was trying to make eye contact.

There isn't any reason to target Berwyn. It's a nothing station.
There are far better targets on the L!
Or 567 W. Lake St.
That's CTA headquarters for the rest of you. No one would miss them.
Nasty, but true.

I kept hearing comments that they were going to have two officers and a dog on each of the Metra trains, but in the four I've ridden since London, I have noticed neither sight nor sound of these supposed patrollers. Apparently, the BNSF and the Naperville-Aurora lines don't matter in the overall scheme of things. Eh, I wouldn't blame em anyway ;)

Maybe if the CTA would use more REAL cops instead of the fake rent-a-cop security officers we'd be better off. Half the time the "security officers" are gossiping and listening to music!

I don't know what was going on this morning (Sunday), but after waiting 20 minutes for a southbound Ravenswood we were told there was a 'police emergency' at Kimball and no trains would be forthcoming. They stopped outbound trains at Western and sent them back south from there. I ended up walking to Lawrence since RootsFest was setting up for the day at Welles Park. Lawrence bus to the lake, 146 down, and I was still on time for work. Too bad on Sundays I'm the boss, so there's no one here to impress with my dedication.

It was a bomb threat. It's just starting to make the news sites.

I noticed that at Clark and Lake on the Blue Line on Sat. the garbage cans had been removed and replaced with clear plastic garbage bags. Obviously for security reasons. Oddly the Tribune recycling bin was still there. Hopefully terrorists won't use thin bombs.

Well it's Monday morning July 11th and on the orange line this moring what a comforting feeling that things are back to normal! NOT ONE CHECK or COP to be found, funny how complacency doesn't even take more than a couple of days.......

I don't believe ANYONE in this city will be able to stop a terrorist from attacking especially on trains and busses. If it's going to happen it's going to happen we just have to be prepared for when and if it does happen.
Also I do not feel one iota of safety when the so called "security" brings dogs to "sniff" the trains. Those dogs are not trained to sniff bombs and I'd be surprised if they were even trained to sniff drugs or anything for that matter. My uncle is a K-9 trainer and he said those dogs do not look at all like they are scent trained and they do not look like they are doing a damn thing but walking next to the train...tell me what that is supposed to do/prevent???
CTA security is a joke! Even in light of the London incidents I don't feel the security is any greater now than it has ever been!!

Didn't Homeland security, Statel of IL or somebody release some funds to help with security for Chicago and St. Louis transit? How much do you wanna bet that money will be wasted?

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