Transit Police to examine increase in crime incidents at 22nd Street Station

Transit Police say they will examine why there has been an increase in incidents at 22nd Street SkyTrain station this year—a move prompted by complaints from an area resident.

Transit Police spokesperson Insp. David Hansen said from January to May there has been an increase in all four categories for which the organization keeps statistics—crimes against person, disturbance, drug-related and mischief.

“We recognize there is a concern and we need to look at when these incidents take place and what we can do to alleviate the problem,” said Hansen. “We have to look at the root causes and what are the solutions to those problems.”

Hansen said transit police officers rotate among SkyTrain stations and bus loops.

“Part of the piece is the time of the day. When we find out, we can focus patrols on those times and crimes,” he said. “We don’t have a presence 24/7. We do have call boxes, and cameras readily available when there are calls there.”

Kris Taylor, who lives across the street from the station, told the NewsLeader last week that crime and nuisance behaviour has been an ongoing problem, particularly in the evenings, at 22nd Street since he moved there 10 years ago. Taylor believes most of it would stop if there was an on-site presence at the station, whether from TransLink attendants, TransLink security or the transit police.

“We do have a presence there and we do patrols,” said Hansen. “Our numbers are there, but not just seen at all times.”

Stats released last year showed that in 2009 there were 19 violent incidents at 22nd Street, which put it 10th among the 33 SkyTrain stations. It was 14th in drug-related incidents with 11.

New Westminster police say they have not noted an increase in activity at 22nd Street. However, a police spokesperson said there has been a rise in nuisance behaviour at stations in New Westminster on Vancouver Canuck game nights with the greatest growth experienced at 22nd Street.

Hansen said Transit Police operations manager Doug Seppel has agreed to meet with Taylor. New Westminster police will also be included in the discussions.

Taylor said he is happy to hear New West police want to be involved because they’ve been so responsive when he has called 911. Hansen said 911 operators do call transit police, but only after it has been determined something has happened on transit property.

“I don’t expect things to play out immediately,” said Taylor.

He’d like to hold the meeting at the station so he can show where most of the incidents occur, but he said Seppel insisted it be in the office.

Taylor said he has done quite a bit of door knocking and heard many more horror stories than the ones he’s passed along. He said he’s even received support for the idea of creating a Connaught Heights security force made up of residents if things don’t improve. If it could be determined what TransLink’s costs per arrest were, they could bill the transit police on a per-arrest basis, Taylor said.

“That’s the kind of end game if nothing’s done about it,” he added.

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