Chicago group sends trained martial artists to patrol public transportation in wake of crime surge

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A Chicago group is taking matters into its own hands when it comes to protecting people by sending trained martial artists and former military members out to patrol trains within the Chicago Transit Authority on Friday.

Volunteers with the group Violence Interrupters sent around 10 people who are unarmed to patrol trains along the Red Line on Friday, according to ABC7.

Tio Hardiman, executive director of Violence Interrupters, told Fox News Digital that the volunteers are not police, but want to deter crime before it starts.

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Passengers along with pigeons warm themselves under heat lamps at the Chicago Transit Authority's Washington/Wells "L" station in Chicago's famed Loop on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 

Passengers along with pigeons warm themselves under heat lamps at the Chicago Transit Authority’s Washington/Wells “L” station in Chicago’s famed Loop on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 
(AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

“Our job is to try to stop or deter somebody from taking advantage of another person. We’re not the police. We don’t plan to arrest anybody. But I believe that most of the time when we’re on a train, the young guys that are thinking about attacking somebody, they might just change their mind when they see all the violence interrupters on the trains, of course,” Hardiman said.

He said that his team consists of people trained in martial arts, judo, and even have military experience.

Violent crime within the CTA has increased by 17% when compared to last year.

If any situation escalates on a train that is being patrolled, he said that the volunteers will intervene.

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A Chicago Transit Authority Green Line train travels West away from downtown Chicago, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Chicago. 

A Chicago Transit Authority Green Line train travels West away from downtown Chicago, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Chicago. 
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

“When the people call 9-1-1 nine and a half times out of 10, the crime has already been committed. Someone has been hurt or assaulted already…We have a dual role, a dual role that we play. For example, we would definitely intervene,” he said. “At the same time, if a young person needs some help, we’ll direct them to the help they might need opposed to just trying to take advantage of people.”

Hardiman believes that there should be an increased police presence on public transportation in Chicago, but said one simple thing that the city can do is to ask police officers to take the train to and from work.

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“That’s cost-effective right there. That’s one way police can have a presence,” Hardiman said.

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