Ashley*, a UIC student who was robbed on the CTA, shares with us her experience through an online Q&A.
*Name has been changed
Q1: What happened when you were robbed on the CTA?
A: I was walking up the stairs to get to the train station when two men approached me from behind and told me to sit on the steps. One of them sat next to me while the other one stood in front of us. They told me to open my purse. The one sitting next to me went through my things and grabbed my wallet and cell phone. He took the money and my ATM card out of the wallet and gave it back to me. After that they ran away with the money, card, and the phone. During the whole time they kept saying that they would hit me if I did not do what they were telling me.
Q2: Where were you when this happened?
A: This happened at the Ashland green line stop.
Q3: What did you do afterward? (contact CTA staff, police, etc)
A: After they ran away I went upstairs to the station and told the security person. She then called the police and a “CTA security supervisor.” Both the police and the security supervisor asked me to recount what had happened. The police offered me to drive me home but at that point I had already called my husband to pick me up.
Q4: What could the CTA have done to prevent this sort of situation or help make it safer?
A: The police asked me a few times to describe the men. It happened in the winter so it was dark at 4pm. In addition I was so scared that I could not really look at them. I wish CTA had cameras at the stations. Maybe the police would have caught these men if they were able to identify them from a video.
Q5: Was there security involved? (camera footage, CTA staff to help, emergency buttons, etc)
A: There was a security person inside the station but she did not see anything. I think that at the time when it happened, they did not have cameras at that station. Later, I found out that they were installing security cameras.
Q6: How has this affected the way you view the CTA or the way you travel on it now?
A: The first months after the incident I was scared to take the train. Now I am a lot more cautious and I pay more attention to my surroundings and people on the CTA.
Q7: What do you use the CTA for? (shopping, school, work, etc)
A: I use CTA a lot, actually. I [ride the CTA for] school, shopping, work, and entertainment. I would say I am on the CTA at least 4 to 5 days a week.
Q8: What are safety tips that you would give someone taking the CTA trains or buses?
A: Definitively be aware of your surroundings. Always look back before going up or down the stairs at certain train stations.