Toronto Police Service to increase presence in city's transit system
Today, Chief of Police Myron Demkiw was joined at Toronto Police Headquarters by Mayor John Tory, TTC Chair Jon Burnside and TTC CEO Rick Leary and Acting Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue to address safety concerns in the city’s transit system.
In response to a request from the TTC and an increase in violence and criminal acts in the city’s transit system, the Toronto Police Service has been actively increasing its high visibility patrols on transit properties in recent weeks to augment the security provided by the TTC.
Chief Demkiw said, “It is clear that more has to be done to increase the safety of the public and of the city’s transit workers who perform a vital service for all of us. TTC CEO Rick Leary and I have been speaking about how the Toronto Police Service could enhance the TTC’s security presence in the transit system. We have moved quickly, along with the support of the Mayor and the Toronto Police Services Board, to confirm sustainable solutions to address the safety of Torontonians.
Chief Demkiw said, “As Chief, I want to remind people that we live in a safe city. That does not mean that we will not require the police and others to respond to violent and criminal acts. But, hundreds of thousands of people travel our city every day, using subways, streetcars and buses safely. They get to work, social events, schools and other places because the men and women of the TTC do keep us moving.” He continued, “We will work with our partners to do all that we can to ensure that people not only are safe, but feel safe”.
TTC Chair Jon Burnside said, ”Safe, reliable transit is vitally important to the success of our city and I am grateful to be working with the Mayor and Toronto Police to ensure the TTC can focus on what it does best: delivering transit to the people of Toronto.”
“I want to thank Mayor Tory, Chair Burnside and Chief Demkiw for their quick action on this important matter,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “Safety is paramount to everything we do at the TTC and we are committed to running a safe, reliable transit system. We look forward to working together with experts in crime prevention, mental health and addiction and homelessness to address the recent violence on the system with a coordinated, compassionate approach.”
In addition to the existing regular patrols currently being done by divisional officers and specialized units, effective today, the Toronto Police Service will be significantly increasing its daily presence within the transit system.
The plan aims to have upwards of 80 police officers in place throughout the city’s transit locations, across all 16 divisions, staffed primarily by callback shifts, which are shifts filled by off-duty officers in an overtime capacity so that on-shift, frontline officers remain available to respond to priority calls.
The Service will respond to the transit situation while also ensuring that its efforts to continue the work related to our response times on emergency calls is not compromised.
Mayor John Tory added, “The TTC must be safe for everyone. I want to thank Chief Demkiw and TTC CEO Rick Leary for taking this immediate action which I believe will make sure the TTC is safe for passengers and transit employees.”
The Chief continued, “The deployments will focus on reducing victimization, preventing crimes of opportunity and enhancing public safety. These deployments will be dynamic and may change from day-to-day. However, our officers will be on, in, and around the transit system, across the city, throughout the day and late into the evening every day.”
He continued, “Officers from across the city will be participating in this enhancement, and those who ride the transit system will immediately notice an increased presence of Toronto Police officers in the subways, on streetcars and buses.”
Acting Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue said, “Security on transit remains a collaborative partnership and Toronto police officers will work with TTC Special Constables, Streets to Homes Outreach Workers and the Toronto Community Crisis Service in an effort to make the system as safe as possible. We will be nimble and adjust deployments to ensure we are addressing the safety concerns of Torontonians”.
Toronto Police Service news release issued on January 26, 2023.