Calgary Transit safety sweep; update on security investments

Calgary Transit LRT. (LIVEWIRE CALGARY FILE PHOTO)

Calgary police and Calgary Transit peace officers teamed up for a transit sweep in early July, with dozens of charges laid and summonses issued.

 The operation, which began July 4, targeted crime and social disorder in all four quadrants.

Calgary Transit has been battling safety challenges both during and after the pandemic, and both on CTrains and at LRT stations across Calgary.

“Everyone deserves the right to feel safe while accessing public transit in our city,” said Inspector Scott Todd of the Calgary Police Service.

“Through our efforts, we charged numerous individuals, issued several hundred tickets and were able to take a significant amount of drugs off our streets.”

As a result, the operation outcomes included:

  • 216 summonses served
  • 327 warrants executed
  • 86 Criminal Code charges laid
  • Four overdoses prevented
  • Three missing persons located
  • Two stolen bicycles recovered
  • Seized several drugs including crack cocaine, fentanyl, methamphetamine, gabapentin, psilocybin and ketamine, with a street value of approximately $30,000

“Safety is a key component of Calgary Transit’s customer commitment and an important part of building a world-class transit system for our customers,” said Will Fossen, Superintendent, Transit Public Safety.

As ridership continues to grow, we are committed to ensuring the transit system is safe and reliable.”

Boost to peace officers

In a briefing note coming to Tuesday’s Combined Meeting, administration said that transit ridership is at roughly 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Calgary Transit has said they’re targeting ridership of 75 per cent by the end of this year.

They also outline investments made in Calgary Transit Safety. 

Peace officer ranks will jump from 113 to 141 members. Thirty-one transit security guards are also being added to patrols stations. These members have higher level of authority than contracted security, but not the same as peace officers, the briefing note said.

“Because they require extensive training and legal knowledge, it will take approximately 25 weeks to hire, train, and deploy the additional Peace Officers,” the note read.

“It will take approximately 13.5 weeks to have the Transit Security Guards hired and deployed on the system.”

As a result, the full complement of officers won’t be ready until the first quarter of 2023.

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