Calgary Transit Safety: Security is top of mind

transit safetyIf you’ve been riding the CTrain recently, you may have noticed a new addition at some stations: security guards. As part of a pilot program introduced in October 2022 to help address increased social disorder, Calgary Transit has placed City of Calgary security guards on the system to help riders feel safer.

Since 2019, there has been a 53 per cent increase in calls that require Transit peace officer intervention. In addition to recruiting more peace officers, Calgary Transit has been looking at other ways to help keep riders safer and manage the steep uptick in calls. City security guards are an essential part of that safety strategy.

By adding security guards to the system, Calgary Transit has increased its presence and the number of patrols it can complete daily. Trained with skills in conflict resolution and assisting vulnerable populations, City guards can check on riders in real time and resolve issues as they’re happening. They also provide a visible deterrent for criminals, drug usage and social disorder.

“We have started to see success. Our security guards report issues before they become more serious incidents. This means our peace officers can be dispatched to service calls more quickly,” said Will Fossen, Deputy Chief of Transit Public Safety.

While Transit peace officers focus on more serious behavioural issues like active incidents and assaults, the presence of security teams reassure customers, and they can conduct walkthroughs and check on people’s welfare.

“Bringing together sworn peace officers and security guards in a hybrid approach allows The City to better adapt and deploy the right resources to the right incident,” says Rob Morris, Corporate Security’s Manager of Risk Monitoring & Response. “We’re hearing this approach results in better visibility, deterrence and prevention of incidents – including greater ability for guards and peace officers to address issues on Transit, even before they are reported by members of the public.”

Not every station has or requires security guards; security guards typically are assigned to stations attached to infrastructure, such as malls and buildings, because those areas tend to generate more calls for service. However, the intention is to expand the program to add more guards and increase their presence across the system: 14 in-house Corporate Security guards joined Transit Safety last month. When recruitment is complete, a total of 31 guards will be assisting Transit operations across The City.