The number of arrests on Metro Vancouver’s public transit system were up during the first three quarters of 2018, according to new data released by Transit Police.
Compared to the same period in 2017, there was a 17% increase in the number of Transit Police arrests for outstanding criminal arrests — a total of 727 warrant arrests this year to date. This is already higher than all of the warrant arrests recorded in 2015 (591) and quickly closes in on the total number of arrests in 2017 (837).
“Many warrant arrests arise from on-view work of Transit Police Officers in their Hubs, calls for service, or confirming identity incidental to criminal arrest or during enforcement of a provincial statute offence,” reads a Transit Police report.
“The majority of these increases are associated to officers’ active observations and enforcement of the provincial offences regarding the misuse of fare gates.”
When it comes to fare infraction notices, there was a 29% decrease in Fare Infraction Notices between the first three quarters of 2018 and the same period in 2017. But this is offset by a 23% increase in Provincial Violation Tickets (from 10,182 to 12,546) and 39% increase in Transit Conduct and Safety Regulation Files (from 6,826 to 9,464).
New regulations that came into effect in March 2017 allow Transit Police to issue a $173 violation ticket on “disorderly behaviour” instead of fare evasion.
“Neither the Transit Police Officers nor the offender needs to be inside the fare paid zone to issue a ticket to a person who commits an offence,” continues the report.
“Because the person has committed an ‘offence,’ the officers [sic] has lawful authority to briefly detain the person outside of the fare paid zone. There is not a specific offence for the failure to ‘tap in/tap out’; however, persons who do not ‘tap in/tap out’ will contravene section 8(4)(d) – ‘going through a fare gate that was not opened by that person.’ Accordingly, Transit Police can issue a ticket on that basis.”
The number of new arrests during the first three quarters also went up by 42%, from 452 in 2017 to 571 in 2018. Sexual offences were relatively unchanged, falling only slightly from 210 to 204 incidents.
As for Mental Health Act Apprehension Files, the number of such incidents increased from 131 to 146.
Overall, the crimes against persons per 100,000 board passengers increased by 2% from 0.46 during the first three quarters of 2017 to 0.47 in the same period in 2018. Conversely, crimes against property per 100,000 board passengers fell by 2% from 0.61 during the first three quarters in 2017 to 0.599 in the same period this year.
Meanwhile, more people are using TransLink’s services than ever before. October 2018 was the public transit authority’s biggest month ever for ridership, and another annual ridership record is anticipated to be made this year.