Opinion: Safety is your responsibility
When violent incidents on city transit make the news, it may make the average student rider nervous.
Be it the man who lost his leg when he fell between two cars or the individual who was stabbed on the train, these headlines can make you feel like riding public transit is similar to starring in a low budget horror movie.
That’s right, your fears about taking that midnight train downtown aren’t completely invalid.
While an argument can be made that perhaps people overreact to incidents on transit, there is still something to be said for being cautious.
According to the Calgary Transit website, 94.4-million people take the train every year. Not all of them have your best interest at heart.
In 2007 alone there were 246 “person crimes” committed on transit property, with “person crimes” referring to: homicide, all levels of assault, and robbery, also according to Calgary Transit’s website.
All together there were 1,694 crimes committed in 2007 on transit property.
While Calgary Transit has recently added more peace officers and they say transit is no less safe than being on the streets, there are only so many transit officers available at any given time, and obviously not every car on every train can be monitored.
So what can you do to stay safe if you can’t always rely on safety personnel?
Easy: be aware. Take your safety into your own hands.
It’s common sense to be aware of what’s going on around you. We’ve all been on the train at one point or another and encountered a situation that could be described as a little … sketchy.
Some just shrug it off, while others try to ignore it.
It’s tempting to simply keep your headphones on, and maybe watch something unfold out of the corner of your eye while waiting not-so-patiently for your stop.
But maybe next time, the headphones should come off so you can be aware of your surroundings.
Often, the person in question will give clues that he or she might be up to no good.
The signals could be anything. It could be a few grunts or an erratic pacing back and forth. It could be a rustling in a pocket or obscene gestures. It may be your instincts telling you there is something wrong.
Don’t take the chance. Never take the chance. If you feel unsafe, get off the train. If you’re on a bus, sit closer to the front. If you’re on a platform, walk to a lighted and populated area or call for help.
There are help buttons on every platform, don’t hesitate to use them.
And if you think you or someone else is in real danger, call 9-1-1. Safety is everyone’s right, and responsibility.