Photo: Flickr/Canadian Club Toronto, History in Photos
TORONTO – Amid a rise in violence on Toronto transit, city officials have announced that there will be increased police presence on the TTC, effective immediately. But some people are not sure that this is the right move.
The announcement came during a joint press conference held by Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw, Mayor John Tory, and TTC CEO Rick Leary on Thursday. Demkiw said that there will be at least 80 officers throughout the transit system who will be dedicated to enhancing public safety, reducing victimization, and preventing crimes of opportunity.
“We will do this primarily through a significant number of callback shifts, which are shifts filled by off-duty officers in an overtime capacity. We are doing this so that on-duty, frontline officers remain available to respond to priority calls,” Demkiw said.
The police chief explained that officers will be around the transit system and stations, as well as onboard transit vehicles throughout the day and into the evening.
“The recent increase in violence on the TTC is extremely upsetting,” TTC Chair Jon Burnside said.
“As a former police officer, an active community member, and a transit user, it cannot continue. Safe and reliable transit is vitally important to the success of our vibrant city,” Burnside continued.
People in Toronto Unsure about Adding More Police on Transit
Torontonians have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the increased number of police officers in the transit system. Some are glad to see that the city is taking action.
“Fixing the crime issue in Toronto and TTC is going to take a lot more than just hiring more officers. However, more officers are definitely needed. If people don’t feel safe riding the TTC they will stop using it. If people don’t feel safe in the city they will move out,” one Twitter user said.
“Need to do something. The mental health “crisis” is not going to be fixed overnight… or even resolved at a municipal level,” another user said.
“It will hopefully help with the violence issue on the TTC but it obviously will take more to solve the root cause of homelessness and mental illness. Not easy answers,” one user said.
Meanwhile, others worry that adding more police will not address the root cause of the issue.
“Depends on what they do. People who I’ve communicated with think the problem is that there’s no staff/personal of any kind visible, no one to ask for help, witness what’s going on or be a preventative person,” one person said.
“No, that won’t fix the housing crisis, the health services crisis, and a lack of mental health supports,” another man said.
The announcement from city officials comes after months of violent attacks on Toronto transit.