Increased Officer Presence Credited for Reduced Calgary Transit Crime

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Compared to the same point in 2014, reports of crime on Calgary Transit busses, trains, and light rail are down 32 percent. Crime rates throughout the transit system are now at their lowest point in five years.

Calgary Transit monitors crime statistics across a variety of categories, including person crime, vehicle crime, property crimes, drug offences, and others. The current 2015 analysis shows crime down across all categories.

Ridership has steadily increased over the same period, meaning the drop in crime cannot be attributed to fewer Calgarians taking advantage of the city's transit system.

Instead, Calgary Transit law enforcement are attributing the reduced crime rates to the presence of more officers, and to putting those officers to better use.

"We did change our model of deployment to have higher visibility, and to focus on priority areas,” said Insp. Brian Whitelaw, coordinator of public safety and enforcement for Calgary Transit.

Riders seem to have differing opinions, with at least one seeing the increased use of transit by Calgary travelers and commuters as the actual cause of reduced crime.

“Transit’s busier, and the busier it is, the safer it feels," said Druh Farrell, who has spoken out about transit safety before. "It’s like the planning principle ‘eyes on the street’—you’ve got people around you, then generally behaviour improves."

Nighttime transit user Sara Jarvis has noticed the increased officer presence, however, and is grateful that Calgary Transit is changing the way they approach rider safety.

"It definitely makes me feel safer," she said. "You just don’t know what drunk people are going to do; they can get aggressive."

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