City to ramp up security on CTrain network after increased reports of 'social disorder'

·2 min read
Calgary Transit plans to increase security on CTrains after reports of increased
Calgary Transit plans to increase security on CTrains after reports of increased

The city is introducing a program to temporarily heighten security on the CTrain network to address increasing reports of social disorder on public transit.

Calgary Transit General Manager Doug Morgan told city council on Monday that a drop in public transit ridership and the closure of public spaces due to the pandemic have contributed to increasing reports of social disorder, including harassment and drug use.

The city has already increased the presence of peace officers in the CTrain system through reassignment and overtime, Morgan said, and will be implementing further safety measures from March to May of 2021.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi noted during the council meeting that while major incidents such as assaults are down, "little bits of social disorder have gone up quite a bit," and are even more visible because there are fewer people currently using transit.

"This is a concern that we have increasingly been hearing," said Nenshi. "We want to make sure that everyone feels safe all the time."

Three phases to program

City officials reported a 27 per cent increase in social disorder in April 2020.

As a result, the city closed some downtown stations earlier in the evening — including Victoria Park, Erlton-Stampede, Heritage, Southland and Anderson — and enhanced enforcement around fares for public transit in the downtown core.

Coun. Jeff Davison revisited the issue with city council in February 2021, after a video circulated on social media of a man using hard drugs on the CTrain, and asked for an update on Monday.

Additional security measures are now being implemented to Calgary's LRT network, and as of last Thursday, an "intense deployment" of peace officers will be in place for five to 10 days to provide an "immediate response," Morgan said.

"This will be accompanied by a communications campaign educating customers on security and reporting systems," Morgan said.

Phase 2 involves a partnership with Calgary Community Standards and Corporate Security, and in consultation with the Calgary Police Service, to augment the peace officer team. It will be implemented on March 22.

The last phase will involve the hiring of an unspecified number of private security officers.

"In May, Phase 3 will begin with the hiring of contracted security service providers to provide increased visibility and instant reporting, enabling peace officers to focus on other areas," Morgan said.

City officials said the heightened security will be in place for six to 10 months.