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Google Trends: Chicago Frights, and Dem. Candidates Drop, Soar

CTA crime spike and the Coronavirus

After a recent crime spur on CTA trains and platforms, with stabbings, shootings and fatal police reactions – Chicagoans are likely questioning their commutes.

Likewise, it’s difficult not to think twice after touching your face or the dirty public keyboard, given the fears and the realities of the Coronavirus.

When analyzing the Google search results for “CTA” and “corona virus” during the last seven days in Chicago, the Coronavirus shows more than twice as many searches on average. Notably, the searches appear to parallel one another although this reporter will not speculate as to possible coincidences or psychological reasons.

Feb. 27 reflects an initial spike in CTA searches, which may be attributable to a series of individual crimes that recently occurred. The result also appeared a week after a Chicago Tribune article had detailed safety tips for riders, and a day before city officials had announced that the police department would add 50 officers to patrol the “L” with updated strategies and equipment.

Later that day, on Feb. 28, police shot and killed a passenger who traveled between trains which is not allowed by the CTA, spurring debate on the effectiveness of boosted security.

News of the virus may have been more fragmentally received, being international news, but March 1 as the highest spike in searches may be attributed to news of a second death in Washington state and a first case confirmed in New York.

Suburban areas searched about the virus much more than about the CTA.

Search interest in Democratic Candidates 2020, by week

The Democratic Candidates have received a range of Google search results, with some candidates succeeding consistently and others demonstrating sharp highs and lows.

The data analysis reflects weekly searches from Dec. 27, 2018, to Feb. 12, 2020, which was curated by the News Lab, at Google.

Elizabeth Warren, for example, began in the lead, in searches, and mostly placed in fourth or better until Oct. 31, 2019, when she skyrocketed to first and then quickly dropped to sixth. She then steadily rose in the next few weeks before ending this race in sixth place.

Another example is Michael Bloomberg who mostly placed in seventh or last (eighth) place until, consequently – the week of Oct. 31, 2019. His race from this point shows dramatic rises and drops until he finishes in second place after Bernie Sanders who placed first.


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