We’re putting would-be offenders on alert that harassment is not tolerated on the CTA. Everyone deserves the right to a safe and comfortable travel environment and experience.
Building on a previous public service campaign, we’ve expanded and updated our Anti-Harassment Awareness campaign. It’s important for everyone riding one of our buses or trains to know that we take harassment seriously – one incident is one too many.
If you are a victim or witness of harassment on the CTA, we encourage you to speak up and let others know that this behavior is not tolerated.
What’s considered harassment?
Any incident where you feel you’ve been victimized by unwanted behavior from another that is threatening, criminal or makes you feel uncomfortable.
What type of incidents should I report and how?
If your immediate safety is threatened, call 911 right away or request assistance from a CTA employee who can also call for police or emergency assistance.
You can report incidents that are non-life threatening to CTA Customer Service 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282).
You also can choose to file a police report by calling the local police non-emergency hotline for the municipality in which the incident occurred (311, if in Chicago) or by visiting a nearby police station. (We provide service in Chicago and more than 30 neighboring communities.)
Examples of Unacceptable Behavior
- Verbal or physical threats
- Inappropriate touching
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual advances
- Inappropriate photographing
- Unwelcomed physical proximity
- Inappropriate or sexual comments
- Obscene gestures
What happened wasn’t criminal, should I still report it?
If it made you feel uncomfortable, report it CTA Customer Service 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282). While not all incidents may be considered criminal offenses or result in arrest, the information you provide is useful and can help us determine if the incident is part of a larger pattern of activity that needs to be further investigated. Investigations can often include review of surveillance footage from buses, trains or stations to see if the offender may have behaved in a similar (or worse) manner elsewhere at another time.
Perhaps it was an accident…it was crowded?
Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened, call 911. If it makes you feel uncomfortable report it to CTA Customer Service.
Maybe the person was just a little too friendly?
If uncertain whether something is intended or accidental but it makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up! Tell the other person to stop or ask him/her to leave you alone. If this person continues to behave in an unwanted manner, immediately report it to CTA personnel and provide as much detail as possible.
Information to provide: The more information, the better!
- What: police report # and/or details of incident and the offender
- When: date and time
- Where: location, vehicle #, route, direction of travel, cross-streets, etc.
How do I report harassment?
We encourage victims or witnesses to report incidents of harassment right away to CTA personnel, and if one’s safety is threatened, immediately call 911. Here are some options for reporting an incident:
On a bus: If yours or someone else’s safety is at risk, immediately notify the bus operator to request police assistance. Otherwise, try and move away from the offender or ask him/her to leave you alone. Then, as soon as you can, contact CTA Customer Service to report the incident, providing as much information as possible.
If you file a police report in the appropriate local jurisdiction, it’s helpful to notify CTA Customer Service and provide the police report number to aid an investigation.
On a train: In the event of an emergency, call 911 or activate the passenger intercom, which is located under a blue-tinted light in every rail car and allows you to speak directly to the train operator.
If you feel it is unsafe to activate the intercom on your rail car, exit at the next stop and alert CTA personnel. Each rail station is staffed by at least one CTA employee during all service hours.
Who to Call
- 911 for emergencies or if your safety is threatened.
- Contact CTA Customer Service*if you file a police report or want to file a non-criminal, non-emergency incident:
- 7AM – 7PM weekdays
- 1-888-YOUR-CTA (1-888-968-7282)
- TTY: 1-888-CTATTY1 (1-888-282-8891) Report online
*Messages submitted after hours, on the weekend or holiday will not be received until the next business day.
- File a police report by calling the local police non-emergency hotline for the municipality in which the incident occurred (call 311, if in Chicago) or by visiting a nearby police station. (CTA provides service in 35 suburbs in addition to Chicago).
Passenger intercoms are available on all rail cars and located under the blue lighting.
Otherwise, try and move away from the offender or ask him/her to leave you alone. Then, as soon as you can, contact CTA Customer Service to report the incident, providing as much information as possible.
At a train station: In the event of an emergency or if one’s safety is threatened, call 911 or notify the CTA employee on duty. During all service hours, each rail station is staffed by a CTA employee (“Customer Assistant”) who has a two-way radio that provides direct communication to the CTA Control Center, which can immediately request police or emergency assistance. You can also file a police report in the appropriate local jurisdiction. Otherwise, try and either relocate yourself away from the offender or ask him/her to leave you alone. Then, as soon as you can, contact CTA’s Customer Service department to report the incident, providing as much information as possible. You can also file a police report in the appropriate local jurisdiction.
Anonymous reporting: If you wish to report a non-emergency incident anonymously, call CTA’s Customer Service Department who will take down your details and share it with our security department for further investigation.
Post-incident reporting: We strongly encourage victims and witnesses to report an incident right away, but if for some reason you choose not to and change your mind later, you can always report an incident to CTA Customer Service. The sooner we receive this information the better – this way if it’s necessary, we’re able to retrieve any supporting surveillance camera footage as part of an investigation.
What should I do if I see someone being harassed?
Use your best judgment. If you feel someone’s immediate safety is threatened, call 911 right away or notify CTA personnel who can immediately request for police or emergency response assistance.
In non-emergency situations, only if you feel it’s safe to do so, speak up! Ask the victim if s/he is in need any assistance. Even if the victim declines your offer for assistance, this gesture can put the offender on alert that his or her behavior has been noticed.
We also encourage witnesses to report incidents of harassment to the CTA – providing as much detail as possible.
What information do I need to provide?
Whether calling the police or CTA Customer service, the following information is valuable in the investigation of any crimes committed on CTA properties:
- WHAT: Details of what you saw or experienced and a police report number if applicable.
- WHEN: Date and time
- WHERE: Station name or vehicle number (see below), location of where you boarded and exited (i.e. train station or nearest cross streets of bus stop) and direction of travel.
- WHO: any details to help us identify the offender, including: height, approximate weight, gender, hair color or style, clothing, objects s/he was carrying, etc.
Tip: All buses and trains are assigned a unique vehicle number that is displayed both inside and outside of the vehicle. Knowing this number will help us assist the police in their investigation of a reported crime:
Buses: The bus number (usually four digits) is shown in large type inside the vehicle both at the front of the bus above the driver and is printed on a metal plate (with raised type and Braille) on the panel to the left or right of the rear door. This number is also printed on the outside of the bus on the front (below the windshield), rear and on both sides near the rear wheel.
In general, CTA’s buses are all labeled with a three or four digit vehicle number, located in the areas shown above.
Trains: Rail car numbers are 4-digits long and are displayed both inside and outside of each vehicle on either end of each car and on the outside next to each set of doors. This number is also displayed inside each rail car on the panel to the left of each set of doors and below the intercom button on a small metal plate (with raised type and Braille).
In general, all CTA train cars have a four-digit vehicle number displayed in the areas shown above.
What happens with the information I provide?
It is always useful to report incidents. We work closely with police and use information we receive to investigate crimes that occur on CTA. Not every harassment incident may be considered a criminal offense or result in arrest, but the information you provide us is still helpful because it can help determine if there’s a larger pattern of activity that needs to be further investigated by either us or the police. We and local police routinely share information, and reporting by the public is beneficial for that.
Safety & Security on the CTA
We are committed to providing safe, reliable transportation to our customers. Total crime on the CTA system continues to decline, any crime is one too many and we take every incident seriously. Every day, our Security Department works closely with the Chicago Police Department and other police departments in the communities we serve to investigate and combat crime on our system.
Below is a sampling of some of the arrests made recently, where CTA's surveillance camera network aided police in the investigation of crimes involving unwanted, inappropriate behavior. For more information on these cases click on the image below or download the (.pdf)
Cameras aiding in the fight against crime
With more than 23,000 cameras on every bus, train and rail station, our extensive camera network is an invaluable tool for police and their investigations into crimes committed either on or near our property. These cameras also have been successfully used in detecting crime patterns and identifying serial offenders involved in both reported and unreported crimes.
Overall, since June 2011, our cameras have aided police in the investigation, arrest and charging of more than 825 offenders involved in more than 725 incidents of reported crime on or near our property.
Learn more about our security camera initiatives
Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Rape Crisis Hotlines provide survivors of sexual assault/abuse and their significant others immediate support, crisis intervention and referrals for the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
For more information, click here or on the YWCA logo.
Alternatives, Inc. facilitates peace and reconciliation among Chicago’s youth, families, and communities through a combination of behavioral health services and youth development programs designed to prevent and treat trauma and violence.
For more information, visit: http://www.alternativesyouth.org/
The Chicago Safe Start initiative is a collaboration between the city and the state, over 40 agencies and institutions working together to prevent and reduce childhood exposure to violence, raise awareness and build services for families with very young children who have been exposed. Four community agency partners include: Family Focus, Metropolitan Family Services, Casa Central and Heartland Alliance currently provide support and mental health services for families who have children 0-5 who have been exposed to violence in the home and/or community.
For more information, visit: http://www.chicagosafestart.net/
- Anti-Harassment Campaign Flyer: available for download (.pdf)
- Campaign Posters: below is the full collection of posters created as part of this campaign.