The EPS recently completed its 2022 crime analysis, including an overview of crime on transit. Notable statistics include a 31.4% (+680 events) increase in dispatched calls for police service from 2021 to 2022, with violent calls for service up by 52.8% during this time. Overall, 4% of city-wide violent crime occurs in LRT/Transit Centers, and crime severity trends higher in transit centers than it does citywide, increasing 12.7% from 2021 to 2022.
“The safety concerns highlighted by this data are not new and are plaguing cities across Canada,” says EPS Chief Dale McFee. “Solving this issue is about having the right partner, with the right authorities at the table to apply the right solutions at the right time. This is why I am pleased to be part of this Transit Safety Partnership and that we are approaching this issue, as we have done downtown, with the right partners to help reduce victimization and to be able to respond to incidents that occur.”
Recognizing the ongoing concerns, the EPS continues to work closely with the City of Edmonton - including, Edmonton Transit Service (ETS), Transit Peace Officers and security - to respond to emerging incidents. EPS also liaises regularly with our social agency partners, including Bent Arrow who is proactively engaging people within the transit system to ensure assistance accessing support and resources is available.
In 2021, the EPS partnered with Bent Arrow and multiple other agencies to establish the Human-centered Engagement and Liaison Partnership (HELP) Unit, which navigates individuals at greatest risk for victimization and offending to the appropriate service providers before they become entrenched or caught up in one of our complex judicial systems. Recently, the EPS launched several Community Safety Teams in the downtown core and at several central LRT stations as part of the Healthy Streets Operations Centre. The multidisciplinary teams, which involve several community stakeholders, focus on high visibility and community engagement, and allow the appropriate stakeholder to provide the support best suited to a specific situation.
“Violence, crime and disorder on transit cannot be solved by enforcement alone,” says McFee. “It requires a collaborative approach that recognizes the complexity of the issues, which include elements of addiction, mental health, housing and more. But all this being said, enforcement and suppression of crime is a key element in reducing victimization.”
“The City of Edmonton is committed to making transit a more safe, convenient and reliable way to travel. We continue to work with our partners to address concerns, make improvements and advance the actions of the Transit Safety Plan,” says Andre Corbould, Edmonton’s City Manager. “Increasing social disorder is impacting all cities, and we are no different. What IS different is the collaboration, and the actions we are taking to make our transit system safe for Edmontonians. We are working on having the right people in the right places doing the right things. Because we work together, we can ensure we provide the right support, outreach and when necessary, enforcement. In providing safe and comfortable access to the transit system, we help build a greater sense of community safety and well-being in Edmonton.”
"The pandemic has been devastating, particularly for those already struggling to make ends meet. Our partnership with the City and Police has been critical in supporting marginalized individuals impacted by COVID-19. By bringing our agencies together, we can leverage each other's strengths to provide comprehensive support that addresses both their immediate and underlying needs. We already see these partnerships making a real difference in their lives," Bent Arrow Executive Director Cheryl Whiskeyjack commented.
Table 1– Edmonton dispatched calls for service LRT/Transit Centres
Table 2 – Edmonton dispatched calls for service LRT/Transit Centres event groups
Table 3 – Edmonton’s average crime severity citywide and at LRT/Transit stations