Edmonton provides new patrols to LRT in bid to enhance transit security

The Metropolis of Edmonton is taking new steps to enhance security on buses and LRT and round public transit stations with extra boots on the bottom.

Beginning Sunday, individuals can anticipate to see extra transit peace officers patrolling LRT platforms from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., a brand new metropolis report on transit security reveals.

The brand new Transit Neighborhood Motion Groups (TCAT) shall be assigned to drawback areas. 

“TCAT will use a high-visibility and high-engagement deployment mannequin aimed to scale back and stop crime and dysfunction in assigned sizzling spots,” the report says. 

Coun. Erin Rutherford mentioned the steps are in response to council’s determination in February to extend the funds for enhanced security measures. 

“We wish to create a protected, dependable and efficient transit system,” Rutherford mentioned. 

Issues of safety have develop into extra obvious in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, she mentioned. 

The TCAT program relies on a 2019 transit security pilot the place police and peace officers hit sizzling spots six hours a day, 4 days every week.

These areas had a 27 per cent discount in violent crime in comparison with the areas that didn’t, the report says. 

By July, town is including Neighborhood Outreach Transit Groups (COTT), a joint effort between metropolis peace officers and the Bent Arrow Therapeutic Society to deal extra with psychological well being and addictions points. 

The report additionally says town plans to put in gates at some LRT platforms, the place prospects shall be required to pay earlier than being let in. 

Town operations department will request funding for this mission throughout 2023-2026 funds deliberations this fall, the report says. 

In whole, town has almost 28 kilometres of LRT monitor, 25 transit centres and 18 LRT stations to patrol.

A spokesperson mentioned metropolis operations department supervisor Gord Cebryk will present extra element after the report is mentioned at a council assembly Might 24. 

‘Nowhere close to sufficient’

Steve Bradshaw, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Native 569, mentioned the security measures are a step in the best route. 

“It is well-intended however nowhere close to sufficient,’ Bradshaw informed CBC Information Thursday.

He mentioned town must put out extra transit peace officers with an expanded scope of authority to cope with psychological well being and addictions points.

Town is hiring 22 extra transit officers this yr, Metropolis Supervisor Andre Corbould informed council’s neighborhood and public companies committee assembly Tuesday.

The variety of transit officers on the bottom will go as much as 92 from the present 70. 

Bradshaw has been asking for double the present variety of transit peace officers and extra police presence downtown. 

Police Chief Dale McFee mentioned extra patrols shall be dispatched downtown by subsequent week after a slew of incidents previously 24 hours, together with two suspicious deaths, aggravated assaults and a violent stabbing in Bay LRT station.

Drug prevention 

Town additionally plans so as to add drug poisoning prevention groups from June to September partnering with neighborhood well being assets to answer assist in misery at transit services and LRT stations.

Between January and March this yr, town’s transit management centre acquired 227 studies of drug poisonings at transit services. 

Within the final six weeks, safety guards used naloxone 52 instances in transit services. 

Bradshaw mentioned drug overdoses on transit have been reported 787 instances to this point this yr in comparison with 649 instances between Might and December 2021. 

Restoration ridership 

Ridership on ETS dropped to 50 per cent from common ranges throughout a lot of the pandemic however has recovered to between 66 to 69 per cent, town says. 

Rutherford mentioned extra individuals taking transit once more will encourage much more to decide on the bus or LRT. 

“If I am strolling down the identical road and there is 20 different individuals, I really feel safer than if I am strolling down that road and I am alone.” 

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