اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الثلاثاء 3 أكتوبر 2023 10:04 صباحاً
A city council committee discussed a new public transit safety strategy on Monday that's intended to cut down on crime and improve security responses when there are issues.
Increased train station cleaning, training for front-line staff and incorporating the transit security response into the 911 system are all options that the strategy explores.
The committee is also planning to create five district safety hubs throughout the city near the CTrain system, so that security teams would be able to respond to situations in 10 minutes or less.
Chad Tawfik, acting chief of the Calgary Police Service, said he thinks the strategy will make a difference in the long term.
"It's not going to change overnight, it's going to take some time," he said.
"But what you'll see is a more efficient and effective response with the right resources being brought in at the right time for the right issues, which will help us as well on the other side with other community public safety issues that we see."
The safety hubs will predominantly act as a deployment point for transit peace officers, said Tawfik.
Aaron Coon, chief of public safety with Calgary Transit, said that hubs will be strategically positioned throughout the city based on need.
"We take 60,000 calls of service a year. When we looked at evolving our service … we needed to position [the hubs] out."
"We want to make sure that when we're looking at the calls of service … what [are] the best locations for us to work out of. And that's what we're looking at right now."
Coon said the committee is prepared to launch three of the five hubs by November, and that they're hoping to implement the integrated 911 technology within the next 18 months.
Coun. Courtney Penner said the 10 minute response time from the envisioned safety hubs is a goal.
"That is something we are progressively working toward as we staff up through transit safety," said Penner.
"So it's not a number that we have right now and it's not a number that's going to happen next week or the month after, but really kind of that 18-month progression as we add more resources to transit safety."
Mike Mahar, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583, attended the committee's meeting. He said he has hope for the plan, but is concerned that it focuses too much on LRT safety and not enough on buses.
"Some of it's promising. I'm a little bit more apprehensive about how quickly and how effective it's gonna work," said Mahar.
"The whole thing is really focused on the LRT. But you know, when you look at numbers with respect to assaults and people behaving badly, all of those things that happen on the train happen on buses."
Penner said that while there's room for growth within the strategy, the committee chose to focus on the LRT as that's where they say most of the calls for response are occurring.
"Not ignoring the fact that there are transit users all across the city, some who do not touch the LRT."
City council directed administration earlier this year to come up with a comprehensive transit safety strategy.
Funding for the proposed changes, which would cost an estimated $15 million, would still need to be approved in next month's budget debate if city council approves the new strategy later this month.
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