Another day and more violence on the TTC.
While Toronto Police officers are now patrolling the transit system, they can’t be everywhere and the criminal element knows that. Plus, this was just the first full day of the new program that sees 80 police officers on patrol.
As they try to bring comfort to passengers and restore public confidence in the TTC, there are going to be elements out there who will try to work around them.
Three new incidents went down on Friday.
First there was a robbery at Pape subway station at 5:40 p.m. in which police allege “a male assaulted and robbed a group of young people” before fleeing the scene.
Just two minutes later, a man was assaulted on a TTC bus at Cosburn and Pape Aves. by a group of young people. The victim was sent to hospital with minor injuries.
There was also a report of a bus driver who saw a young person take an ice ball from a sidewalk and throw it directly at him as he opened the door to let passengers in.
This has been a busy time on the TTC in terms of crime. As we have reported there have been serious incidents that include two stabbings. Police have now released an image of a suspect they are looking for in the Jan. 25 knifing incident involving a 16-year-old boy on a bus at the Old Mill Subway Station.
“The man stabbed the boy multiple times” and he “is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries,” say police.
The suspect is described as 5-foot-10, 20 to 25 years old, with black dreadlocks covering his forehead. He was wearing a blue face covering, a dark-coloured top with a distinct red logo running vertically on the front, and a dark hooded three-quarter-length winter jacket.
With a million people a day riding the TTC, you are going to have some problems arise, no matter how many police or TTC special constables are deployed. While extra police working on overtime to patrol the transit system is a band-aid solution, it was implemented because of need and demand. People asked Mayor John Tory, Chief Myron Demkiw and TTC CEO RIck Leary to do something impactful and they did.
It’s a start.
But long term there is going to have to be other moves considered to address the crystal meth and other hard drugs being used on the TTC and to help those who are homeless and in despair. That is not the TTC’s fault nor the fault of the police. If there is no way to move out people who basically live on the TTC, the extra patrols are needed.
As Tory has already signalled, there is also nothing wrong with pursing ideas like establishing a non-profit Guardian Angels group or other out-of-the-box approaches. Other ideas could include getting the Toronto Police Auxillary officers involved and perhaps creating TTC transit marshals that move around the system.
Meanwhile, TTC staff are also under a lot of stress, as was obvious last week in the video of an operator over the speaker telling riders to take their complaints to the mayor. The employee’s co-workers tell the Toronto Sun he has been suspended with pay while the incident is investigated but the TTC has not confirmed this.
If criminals get second chances, why not this guy who expressed what everybody was thinking and is on the same page of improving the TTC. There are no bad ideas on public safety or making the TTC the Better Way again.