LRT crime targeted - Metro

Coliseum Station at centre of crackdown

published march 19, 2008

A four-week pilot project aimed to derail crime out of the Coliseum LRT Station has resulted in hundreds of tickets and eight people being permanently banned from transit property.

Police say the project has resulted in more than 250 issued tickets after receiving 195 calls for service to the Coliseum LRT station.

Police say Coliseum station is a hot spot for "disorder issues."

Uniformed and plain-clothed Edmonton police officers have been working with Edmonton Transit security to monitor bad behaviour at the stop since Jan. 30.

The moment something like an assault, an act of vandalism or an act of bullying is reported or seen by police, officers are already on scene immediately to make arrests.

"We are not just sitting here waiting for something to happen," said Ron Gabruk, acting director of ETS safety and security. "Our state-of-the-art deployment model allows us to zero in (at) the right time and it allows us to know who we are going after."

Many of the crimes committed were by repeat offenders, say police, as 10 were identified during the crackdown. Eight of them were banned from ETS property.

If those bans are broken, offenders could face further criminal prosecution, says Gabruk.

"Our chronic offenders are responsible for over 50 per cent of crimes in our system," said Gabruk. "This program allows them to be taken off of the system."

Sheldon Lauzon, an 18-year-old transit rider, says he’s happy there will be more of a security presence at the LRT stop, especially during the night.

"It can be somewhat scary taking the LRT at night, I once got confronted by a guy who demanded my stuff," said Lauzon.

The project, however, has been so successful on deterring unruly behaviour, Edmonton police Insp. Brian Nowlan says it could be expanded to other LRT stations across the city.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, you’re going to be seeing more of this," said Nowlan.

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Jeff Cummings/Metro Edmonton

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