When I was teenager growing up on Whalley my friends and I would walk down to Gateway or Surrey Central to head downtown and we’d be kind of scared of Broadway or Granville Stations – although it just ultimately proved how daring we were to venture to such places so far from home.
As an adult I’ve feared for my safety a few times on transit and I’m lucky enough to have never witnessed any major altercations. I ride buses almost every day, and SkyTrain about 5 times a month. I know there are some major issues here but I’d like to review the many sides of each discussion.
Earlier this month it was announced that Translink would be beefing up SkyTrain security with the use of drug-sniffing dogs at stations and on trains.
Under the program, specially trained police officers will patrol the SkyTrain line with dogs. If the program is deemed a success, the Transit Police Service could then develop its own dog squad, according to Doug Kelsey, CEO of the B.C. Rapid Transit Company, which operates the SkyTrain for the regional transit authority. [CBC]
Some are very pleased with this initiative although over on The Buzzer blog (the Buzzer being the official Translink publication) there’s quite the discussion going.
According to The Buzzer this is all a part of a much larger security plan that would include:
Karen, who ran the SkyTrain Security Unconference in Surrey a few months ago left the following comments.
Re: “Our work is not impeded by not having dogs, but we may be able to do more with one or two specifically trained dogs. We would not be roaming the system sniffing people for drugs. We â€œMAYâ€ want to sniff for explosives though.”
Karen: “Iâ€™m sure this is comforting to hear, for those of us travelling with small children or who are concerned about those with allergies to dogs. It does beg my next question: is the need urgent or pressing enough so that TransLink needs to invest in having these resources available in-house, rather than collaborating to make use of existing law enforcement resources? I can see that in a pinch it might be time wasted to secure an RCMP resource.”
Re: “Again, thinking of safety and security, what would the public response be if some sort of attack took place against the system, and we had not done all we could to prevent or detect that attack.”
Karen: “In my opinion, statements like this do nothing to support the cause of helping the public accept initiatives like police dogs. We can speculate far and wide on all sorts of things that might happen due to some hazily-defined enemy, and there is certainly no doubt that security and safety are certainly important, but must our everyday peace of mind be continually asked to take a back seat?”
What do you think are the most effective security measures? Do we need a police or security presence at all stations or just the ones with the most problems?