Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tribune States Roosevelt CTA Station Has the Most Crime in the City

We've been hearing a lot about crime in the city recently and yesterday a couple people brought a surprising article by the Chicago Tribune to our attention which no doubt will draw some negative attention to the neighborhood:
That Roosevelt stop, which serves the Green and Orange lines on the elevated tracks and the Red Line below, was the No. 1 station for rail crime between 2009 and June 13 of this year, according to the analysis.  
St. George, who is working as an intern at the Shedd Aquarium, seemed surprised when advised that she should consider keeping the phone out of view. "So I should put the phone in my purse? Thank you, I appreciate it," she said.
In addition to the Red Line, which operates around the clock between some of Chicago's most affluent neighborhoods as well as through some of its poorest, crimes committed against rail passengers were also pervasive on the Green Line, which goes through the West Side, and the Forest Park branch of the Blue Line, which also travels east-west, the analysis found.
When I first heard this, I was frankly surprised.  I've been using the Roosevelt stop for years and never had an incident (knock on wood).  While we've seen some things and posted about crimes at this stop, I've never felt like this stop was the worst in the city in respect to crime.

Perplexed, we looked at the article and found an interesting statement:
Crimes targeting CTA customers are highly concentrated in the downtown area, where dozens of bus routes converge and Loop trains operate, as well as on the entire Red Line, according to a new Tribune analysis. 
Ok, this makes sense.  Where the most people come and go probably results in the most crime.  However, looking closer at the Tribune's list and map, you will notice that none of the stops in the Loop are cited as "stations with the most crimes".  Upon examining the story further we found this little blurb about loop stations:
Because of the close proximity of stations in the Loop, both elevated and subway, crimes could not confidently be attributed to individual stations.  Similar limitations occurred at the Roosevelt subway and elevated stations.
So, if I'm reading this right, these "limitations" prevented loop stations from being included in the study, but not the Roosevelt station?  Interesting.

I'm not suggesting that there aren't a lot of crimes around the Roosevelt stop or that it should not be a serious issue in the neighborhood.  I'm just upset that such a negative statement about our neighborhood is being widely circulated across the city even though "limitations" about this study (and specifically this stop) exist.

Yes, the Tribune put an asterisk by the Roosevelt stop, but why didn't they do the same for the Loop stations and include those in the study?  Regardless, the South Loop is left with a city wide perception (or fact if you believe it) that the "Roosevelt station has the most crime in the city".

So what do you think?  Are we missing the point?  Are we simply trying to spin this to make the South Loop look better?  Did the Tribune recklessly give the Sloop a black-eye?  Does this change your perception of the neighborhood?  or the Roosevelt stop?

(Hat tip: N & AS!)


BRENDAN said...

Not a shocker.

Although you wouldnt know from reading this blog. So many dolts out there still think this stop is fine....

Unknown said...

Thanks for the false title on this thread... then saying much later that the much more dangerous Loop stations are not included in the study. Now we are going to hear about how the Roosevelt stop is the worst in the city for years to come.
Great way to set off a negative vibe for the sloop throughout the summer.

peter said...

Agree this is unfair/overstated. I downloaded the 217 crimes from the chicago data portal... some thoughts:
1) Relative to say 69th St, Roosevelt has 2x the boardings, 2x the platforms, 3x the lines... not exactly relevant/fair to count absolute crimes
2) I don't think they mention that the biggest crime is narcotics posession. 102 of the 217 crimes at Roosevelt were scary ones like theft/robbery/battery, roughly one every two weeks.
3) ~12M people boarded the station during the 3.5 years they studied... so maybe 30M people on the platforms including transfers/exits... 102 crimes against 30M people puts things in perspective
4) The crimes are spread throughout the day, so be careful even when it's not dark

colie said...

The Tribune certainly turned this to make it bad for the Sloop - given so many stops were left out, etc. I think it's good to post this information for everyone to see but also good to read the full story and see this isn't all true.

MarkChicago said...

All the stats can be manipulated with an asterisk and doesn't change anything. Use common sense, always carry some extra ciggies for the bums and don't be stupid & try to use electronics for their intended purpose while using the CTA.

Josh said...

It's also one of the most heavily trafficked stops. Since they're looking at raw numbers and not rates, it's going to be high.

Sonja (Pippa) said...

Peter thank you for putting some facts down. I feel better. I use that stop all the time, although not at night.

peter said...

No problem, another reassuring fact is that the incidence rate has clearly decreased during 2011-2012 relative to 2009-2010

JP said...

OK, one thing that maybe needs to be added is that the Mass Transit unit of the CPD is based out of 18th street, and the nearest stops for any officer riding the rails are Chinatown or Roosevelt. Crimes are not just crimes where somebody is victimized and calls 911, they also include the police witnessing crimes like narcotics or turnstile jumping etc. There will be more police passing through or present in/at the Roosevelt stop than any other stop in the city (due to the numerous lines meeting at Roosevelt, and the proximity of the HQ for the transit police). Therefore, it would almost be impossible not to have Roosevelt on top. If they narrowed this down to crimes that include victims, like robbery or assault or whatever, I'd find the results of such a study much more interesting. Hope this helps someone.