Transit Police make reporting by text permanent in Lower Mainland
(CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Transit Police say their text-a-crime dial code pilot program has been a success and commuters can permanently report crimes by dialing 877777 and texting information to police.
Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan told 24 hours on Sunday the project that began in December has demonstrated its effectiveness after police realized they could easily obtain intelligence through discreet texts.
“People are giving us excellent information,” she said. “They can tell us exactly where they are on the train, what’s going on, and give us a good suspect description so we can deploy in a very intelligent, smart way.”
Drennan said commuters can also soon expect the launch of the new Metro Vancouver Transit Police Mobile App that just went into beta testing last week.
The app will be available in the coming week — with features such as crime maps, real-time transit police information, tips and more. In the future, its abilities could expand to include online crime reporting with the ability to include images and video.
Starting Monday, Transit Police are kicking off a week-long sexual awareness campaign that partners foreign transportation police services, including detachments from the U.K., Washington D.C. and Boston.
Drennan said police would first focus on the Newton bus loop on Monday, where officers would be out to answer questions about the campaign. Officers will also be making their way into classrooms to provide presentations on the topic throughout the week.
“Transit, unfortunately, lends itself to predators who find it much easier to spot targets in closed spaces where there are a lot of people,” Drennan said.
She added more people are telling police about sexual assaults on transit and that’s a good sign, but the offences are still vastly under-reported.