More Toronto police officers to be visible on the TTC after violent incidents

Toronto police will be increasing their visibility on the TTC in the coming days in order to reassure riders that the transit system is safe in the wake of several disturbing incidents of violence.

Toronto Mayor John Tory met with TTC CEO Rick Leary and Toronto Police Chief James Ramer Thursday morning to discuss safety on the TTC in the wake of the incidents.

“We are all in complete agreement that the safety of everyone on our transit system is an absolute priority, and I made it clear that the City government is ready to provide any additional support required,” Tory said in a statement following the meeting.

He said that Chief Ramer plans to increase the visibility of officers on the transit system “throughout the coming days and in the weeks ahead.”

On Sunday, a woman was pushed onto the tracks while waiting for a subway train at Bloor-Yonge Station. She managed to avoid an incoming train by rolling under the lip of the platform. She suffered a broken rib but luckily was not more seriously injured.

A woman has since been arrested and charged in connection with that incident.

Then yesterday a man was stabbed in the neck while waiting for a train at St George Station in what police called a “random” attack. A suspect has also since been charged in that incident.

Police also said this week that they are looking for a suspect in connection with an April 12 incident at Pioneer Village Station in which a male victim was choked until he passed out and was then robbed after getting off a train.

The violence has triggered calls from critics to improve safety on the transit system.

In his statement Thursday, Tory said that the transit system continues to be a safe place for riders and employees, though he acknowledged that “we have all been extremely troubled by the recent and unacceptable incidents of random violence we have seen on the TTC.”

“The system is safe – that is demonstrated in the hundreds of millions of riders who use the system every year without incident,” the mayor said. “Police confirmed today they are not seeing a spike of violent incidents on the TTC. Both the TTC and police service have committed to doing everything they possibly can do right now to address the public’s concerns and that they will never stop looking at ways to make the system even safer.”

While Tory said that both police and the TTC are “more focussed than ever” on the safety of the transit system, he said that many of the safety incidents that take place on the TTC can be traced back to mental health and addiction and said that more needs to be done to address those problems.

“As I have said many times, there continues to be a need for more intensive efforts to address mental health and addiction concerns in our society by the healthcare system,” Tory wrote.

“This is becoming a more and more acute problem for Toronto and other cities and has a considerable impact on safety and stability on the TTC and many other places in our city.”

He said those experiencing mental health and addiction issues need treatment and support and called on the provincial governments to do more in those areas.

The TTC told CP24 Wednesday that the system “is safe by any global measurement.”

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