Metra launches new safety campaign promoting app

Metra is launching a new publicity campaign aimed at encouraging commuters to report anything from nefarious activity to emergencies to unattended bags.

Bright yellow posters asking riders if they "Feel Unsafe? Call Us Now" will be displayed on trains and at stations.

Besides 911, the posters will include the Metra Police contact information at (312) 322-2800 and a number to text - (312) 313-9015.

Riders can also scan a QR code to obtain the Metra COPS app, which lets passengers "discreetly" report issues.

"It's an app where people can go ahead and discreetly send messages to a 24/7 center on incidents or concerns they have on the train, on the platform or any Metra property," Executive Director Jim Derwinski said Wednesday at a meeting.

Derwinski noted that "Metra trains are among the safest and most secure ways to travel, but if a concern does arise, we want our customers to know the best way to reach us so we can respond immediately and effectively,"

"These posters will be prominently displayed so the information will be available when and where our customers need it."

The Metra app also can be obtained from the App Store or at Google Play.

The railroad encouraged customers to report problems including a crime in progress, disruptive or suspicious behavior, vandalism and fare evasion.

Customers can take a photo or video and send them to authorities on the app, officials said. "The app ensures discretion by automatically disabling the user's smartphone flash, and can be configured by the user to allow reports made through the app to be anonymous."

Although the app has been around for a while, some customers weren't aware of it and that's one reason for the new campaign, Derwinski said.

"In this environment, we thought it pertinent to go ahead and make a more visible relaunch."

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