Toronto Police devoting more staff to patrol TTC as violence spins out of control
The Toronto Police Service announced on Thursday that there will be an increased presence of officers in the city's transit system in response to a recent spike in violent crimes on the TTC over the past few weeks.
Chief Myron Demkiw and Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue were joined by TTC CEO Rick Leary and Mayor John Tory at police headquarters to provide an update on transit safety in Toronto.
Demkiw announced the plan, which aims to have upwards of 80 police officers in place throughout the transit system every day. The positions will be filled by off-duty officers in an overtime capacity.
The TTC must be safe for everyone.— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 26, 2023
I want to thank @torontopolice Chief @tpsmyrondemkiw and @ttchelps CEO Rick Leary for taking this immediate action which I believe will make sure the TTC is safe for passengers and transit employees. https://t.co/NHbdLg6C3p
"These deployments will focus on reducing victimization, preventing crimes of opportunity and enhancing public safety," he said. "Given this, our deployments will be dynamic and may change from day-to-day."
Demkiw said police officers will be on, in, and around the transit system throughout the day and late into evening each and every day.
"Those who ride the transit will immediately notice an increased presence of Toronto police officers in the subway, on streetcars, and buses," he added.
Mayor John Tory said deploying more police officers in the system during a time of anxiety is simply "the right thing to do."
The @TorontoPolice are taking immediate action to improve safety on the @TTCHelps by increasing the daily presence of officers across the city’s transit system. pic.twitter.com/bU3E7041QE— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 26, 2023
"Some have been critical of these initiatives, and critical of increased investments in the police service, but they were right at the first time when I announced them, and they are still a necessary part of the safety answers for today and for tomorrow," Tory said.
However, many people weren't too thrilled with the new plan, and attributed the root of the problem to lack of mental health support and inadequate housing in the city.
This is not the answer. It might be a part of it-although we know Toronto police unfairly target BIPOC people- but mental health workers are much more needed on the TTC. And safe spacing including housing are needed to solve the larger problem.— Oren Weisfeld (@OrenWeisfeld) January 26, 2023
More police leads to other issues https://t.co/i8dkzyQOaS
One person suggested that the city should invest in social programs instead.
I think it's time to invest in social programs that address housing and mental health now— Amanda Perkins (@amandaperkins2) January 26, 2023
Another person called the increased police presence a "short-term solution."
It's a housing problem, not a lack of policing problem. Good short-term solution to increase police presence, but that just means more police funding imminent, with little to no regard for the root cause #onpoli #TTC #Toronto— Naimul Khan (@naimulkhan) January 26, 2023
Other people suggested investing in healthcare and housing, as opposed to increased policing.
Invest in homes and healthcare, not policing.— trying to be gruntled (@binbinbeez) January 26, 2023
Another person said the new plan doesn't make them feel any safer taking the TTC.
This doesn’t make me feel any safer!!— Shiva (@Toots_00) January 26, 2023
The new plan comes after an unprecedented week of back-to-back violent attacks on the TTC, that have many commuters questioning the safety of the transit line.
Just this week, a TTC passenger was shot at with a replica/BB gun at York University Subway station, a woman was violently robbed of her purse at Broadview station, a pair of TTC workers were chased by an assailant wielding a syringe at Dundas station, a 16-year-old was stabbed on a bus at Old Mill station, and a woman stabbed a female victim on a Spadina streetcar.
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