Crime Train ? Or misleading headlines.. ??
Be careful about those headlines !
24 hours ran a headline yesterday that said:
Evergreen stations likely crime hubs: report
then, in the byline in smaller print:
But it has little to do with the stations’ presence and more to do with the fact the commercial hubs stations are built in are already crime hotspots.
The story is based on a report prepared for the Translink Police (working in partnership with the Port Moody Police) regarding the impacts of the Evergreen Skytrain Line on local crime/policing.
The report, which used a before and after analysis of the Canada Line, concludes, that while “certain types of crime appear to have become slightly more concentrated in the areas around the Canada Line Stations, the introduction of a new light-rail system did not appear to cause increases in crime rates overall city wide”
This report was presented to the Port Moody Police Board jointly by the Transit Police and PMPD Chief’s earlier this year.
With the Evergreen Line slated to commence service in 2016, the PMPD/Board and the City have been working with the project for years now in planning the station designs and impacts, including the issues around crime and policing.
The stations are designed to include fare gates, unlike the Expo and Millenium stations, and this is incorporated from the outset. This limits the opportunities for access to the platform areas, and is an additional deterrent to ‘loitering’ at the stations.
The stations are designed to be open, well lit, and not to include ‘hiding places’ or areas out of view – the Moody Centre station for example uses mainly glass in the external ‘walls’, allowing you to see right through the station.
The stations include an opportunity for commercial vending, like a coffee shop or snack counter, that provides additional activity/people around to discourage criminal activity. The stations also include space for a Transit Police Office, and officers will be encouraged to spend time AT the station and interfacing with the riders.
The main point here shouldn’t be lost on anyone –
The PMPD is preparing and will be prepared for ANY impacts the skytrain might have and is attentive to the concerns of the community.
During the recent update of the PMPD Strategic Plan, concerns around Skytrain were regularly mentioned by residents, and just as regularly identified by members of the department. There is an internal strategy in the department being developed to deal with the change Skytrain will bring to our community, but, as the report identifies, we are anticipating this would be more of a ‘shift’ in location of criminal behaviour than it would be ‘new’ criminal behaviour.
One luxury of a small department is that we are very ‘agile’ in Port Moody, and should any activities ‘flare up’ around the stations, we have the ability to quickly identify them and respond. Our excellent relationship with Translink and New Westminster Police has allowed us to become aware, very early, of the potential challenges that lie ahead, and we are working co-operatively with our policing partners to address them proactively.
If you wish to read the entire report, click here