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More officers on the way as Calgary Transit safety concerns are raised at town hall meeting


Residents in Kensington attended a town hall meeting Monday night to vent concerns with city officials and law enforcement surrounding public safety on transit and in the community.

“I've been doing this job for 20 years and we've always been fairly lucky with our level of social disorder and crime has increased as a result of COVID,” said Annie MacInnis, executive director of Kensington Business Improvement Area.

One resident voiced his frustration to Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong, likening the city’s LRT system to “a meth lab.”

Sgt. Ian Stewart, with Calgary Transit, says officers are dealing with a number of disorderly conducts including fires.

“People setting fires within shelters or the vulnerable populations are setting fire to keep warm,” he said.

“We are well aware of it. We have good strategies in place to try and deal with those in the extreme cold weather.”

Stewart says there are transit ambassadors located at stations, to speak with riders.

Fourteen are on a morning shift another 14 in the afternoon and evening.

More than two dozen corporate officers have been contracted out by the city to help bridge the gap, but hiring people has been an issue.

“We are working our way towards putting extra officers on the street,” said Stewart.

Several more officers will be on the street by the end of February and even more come the summer.

At the Sunnyside train station last year, officers were alerted to more than 600 disorder calls,with nearly all having officers dispatched to.

Of the total incidents, 55 per cent saw officers intervene before needing to be called.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says dealing with transit safety is a complex problem.

“We need to make sure that we are addressing issues of desperation quite often and that we are addressing mental health and addiction issues but at the same time there is a criminal element as well,” she said.

“So separating all of those things out takes some time.” Top Stories

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