Concern has grown about safety in Calgary as the public transit system CTrain is experiencing increased levels of drug abuse and violence in and around the stations, platforms, and on the system. Many users have been voicing their concerns online:
The CTrain is a service that numerous people need to rely on, but it has become something that a number of people and families have begun to avoid.
Throughout the year of 2022, videos have been posted and circulated online that have Calgarians very concerned and frightened to be near and around Calgary CTrain stations. The following had the most attention:
I spoke with some folks at CTrain platforms downtown to see if they have seen an uptick in violence in and around the train line, and each person was able to say they have.
On December 16, Alberta’s Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, Nicholas Milliken, announced the establishment of the Calgary Public Safety and Community Response Taskforce to address homelessness and drug issues in the city. It is aimed at treating addiction, mental health, and improving public safety.
The task force is comprised of cabinet members, city councillors, city of Calgary staff, Calgary Police Service Chief Mark Neufeld, the Calgary Fire Department, Indigenous representatives, and community partners.
Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz mentioned that Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek is aware of the task force but will not be a member at this time. Schulz said the task force will further invite Gondek for consultation and input in the future.
Time will tell if this task force makes a difference and if it’s not just another empty promise.
Potentially a solution for the city is to focus on being proactive and preventive as opposed to reactive, as it can take a long time to get help after reporting an incident or an issue to Calgary transit. Having a full contingent of peace officers deployed to patrol the system at all times may bring more users in as the feeling of safety may increase.
Shelters are very important for the homeless, especially during these cold months. To prevent the homeless from gathering at the train line, the city of Calgary has removed the shelter doors at Chinook station.
Calgary Transit said the doors at three warming areas have been removed as one component of the city’s severe winter weather response plan, which aims to discourage people from staying in those areas and encourage those without a home to access proper shelters with washrooms and support resources.
This move has created a lot of mixed feelings, with some calling this move “inhumane”. Others are saying that this is only a short-term solution and that more of a long-term solution needs to be made. Meanwhile, some say taking the doors of warming stations also inconveniences the riders.
Hopefully, in 2023 Calgary Transit will take stronger, worthwhile initiatives to improve public safety for its users.
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