MVTP Constable Miles Teitelbaum looks forward to seeing you in North Vancouver this summer

Written by Cst. Miles Teitelbaum, NPO for South Vancouver and Richmond, and participant in the Lower Lonsdale Community Patrol Partnership

I recently took on the role of Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, joining the program on temporary assignment in order to assist Cst. Bruce Shipley in the area of South Vancouver and Richmond, as well as support a new project in North Vancouver over the summer. Currently, Cst. Shipley is assisting vulnerable persons who use the transit system, keeping them safe. Prior to taking on the NPO assignment, I was a patrol officer on the west side for nine years.

One of the things I enjoy most about my current role is participating in the Lower Lonsdale (LoLo) Project. The program was launched thanks to the hard work of a fellow NPO, Cst. Kirk Rattray, and the pilot project brings together Transit Police NPOs and officers from the North Vancouver RCMP, who jointly patrol the Lower Lonsdale Quay neighbourhood. Each Friday and Saturday afternoon and evening this summer, you can find our team conducting beat-style policing, to make sure that everyone is enjoying the many vendors and businesses in the area in a safe manner. We engage with the public as we patrol, answering questions, giving safety tips and letting people know how Transit Police and the RCMP are working together to provide important safety reassurance to all attendees. During our shift, we make sure to stop by the SeaBus and patrol the nearby Phibbs Exchange bus loop, making ourselves available to both the public and transit employees for anything they might need.

The Lower Lonsdale area is always busy, and sometimes people get separated from their group. A really rewarding part of working on the Lolo Project is when I get to help reunite people who are lost from their family. I also enjoy it when people take the time to thank or acknowledge us for our service. It’s gratifying to see a small child’s face light up when they get a Transit Police or RCMP sticker.

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Metro Vancouver Transit Police Bike At Work!

It’s Bike to Work Week but did you know Metro Vancouver Transit Police Officers also conduct patrols using bikes at work? In 2017, Transit Police launched a Bike Program pilot project following an invitation to participate in cycle training with The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Bike Team.

Building partnerships with local jurisdictional police is integral to our Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) Team and training together for a full week created strong and lasting relationships. However, the project’s main goal is to increase high police visibility in the Community Service Areas, defined in our Service Delivery Model.

What is Transit Police hoping to achieve?

Adding bike patrols into Transit Police’s regular ‘on the beat’ patrol schedule supports the objectives of the Transit Police Strategic Plan, including:

  • Reduce Crime and Disorder
  • Improve Feeling of Safety for Transit Customers and Staff
  • Improve Understanding of Needs of Transit Customers and Staff in Order to Care for and Keep Them Safe
  • Protect and Assist Vulnerable Persons
  • Engage in Innovative and Efficient Methods to Anticipate Transit Growth, Social Change and Regional Community Safety Issues

Becoming more mobile has enabled our police officers to patrol to a greater extent in the surrounding areas of SkyTrain Stations and Bus loops. This has increased police presence, given our officers greater opportunities to interact with the public and also improve community partnerships with local businesses.

Riding bikes in their CSA will also help the NPOs build on their connection with Transit Operators and the Transit Security Bike Patrol team.

By the end of the summer, a total of seven Transit Police Officers are set to be cycle trained.

Learn more about the Transit Police Bike Program this Friday

This Friday, June 1, NPO Cst. Julien Ponsioen will be at Robson Square from 3pm to 6pm. Stop by to register your bike with 529 Garage for free and let your child ride a Transit Police bike.

Our partners at 529 Garage allow you to register your bike along with thousands of fellow cyclists who can keep a watchful eye on your bike if you do experience a theft.

Children will also have the opportunity to ride a Transit Police bicycle (with flashing lights!) through a course that will give them a taste of the training our officers go through. So bring your child down to become a certified junior bicycle officer.

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Transit Police invites you to take part in the 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Join us for the 5th annual Metro Vancouver Transit Police Charity Golf Tournament in support of Special Olympics BC athletes. Enjoy a day of golf, while helping to create a world of inclusion where every person is accepted regardless of ability.

Your $125 registration fee includes lunch and a banquet dinner featuring a silent auction, raffles and prizes.

To find out more about Special Olympics visit  www.specialolympics.bc.ca

For more information and to register, email  Jaemie.Valenzuela@transitpolice.bc.ca

Metro Vancouver Transit Police helps young people succeed in sporting achievements through charitable giving

Support our BC Special Olympics athletes and the Polar Plunge!

Metro Vancouver Transit Police is a proud supporter of Special Olympics BC, since 2005 and has been dedicated to fundraising activities that benefit athletes with intellectual disabilities. This dedication to raising awareness through charitable fundraising events has seen Transit Police officers plunge into the freezing ocean, run up the hills of New Westminster, and putt a golf ball or two.

Every March, Transit Police staff plunge into the icy waters at Kitsilano Beach to raise money for Special Olympic athletes. The event raised over $100,000 last year alone! This is followed in May, when the Transit Police organizes a golf tournament sponsored by local businesses, and then in June as members participate in The Law Enforcement Torch Run through the streets of New Westminster.

The 2018 Polar Plunge takes place on Saturday, March 3, 10a.m at Kitsilano beach.

Consider donating to our team. All donations assist in supporting our BC Special Olympic athletes. Donate to the MVTP Polar Plunge Team.

About Special Olympics BC

Click here to learn more about Special Olympics BC: http://www.specialolympics.bc.ca/.

MVTP Constable Jenny Chung: making friends on the Evergreen Extension

Written by Cst. Jenny Chung, NPO for North Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, Belcarra, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and the West Coast Express in Mission.

As a Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) for what we call a “Hub Area” in the northeast of Metro Vancouver, which includes the Evergreen Extension and surrounding area, I’ve been a part of the surrounding community since its opening in December 2016. I still remember getting drenched on opening day, but barely noticing thanks to the enthusiasm of the people who came out to celebrate this incredible new community amenity.

With the opening of the Evergreen Extension came the opportunity for me to further build on our existing partnerships with the Port Moody Police and Coquitlam RCMP. As a result of my assignment to our Hub Area I’ve had the opportunity to engage with other community groups and agencies like ICBC, Douglas College, and local youth groups, as well as local area businesses and schools. Through my presence at the Lougheed and Coquitlam Centre bus loops I have been able to further strengthen relationships with transit operators who drive CMBC buses on routes in the Tri-Cities.

These new and enhanced relationships have created opportunities for refreshed public safety campaigns, such as focusing on pedestrian safety with ICBC, the Coquitlam RCMP and Port Moody Police in areas around SkyTrain stations. We’ve had great feedback from the public and I’ve really enjoyed the positive interactions.

One project I’m proud to have participated in was a joint response to an increase of shoplifting incidents in and around Coquitlam Centre Mall, adjacent to Lincoln Station on Evergreen. Some of the suspects who would steal from area businesses would use the SkyTrain as their means of transportation. I was able to work in partnership with the Coquitlam RCMP, Loss Prevention Officers and my fellow MVTP colleagues to develop a strategy for prevention and enforcement. As a result of our joint policing and security collaboration, we have been able to identify and apprehend several prolific shoplifters, reduce these crimes, and make the transit system safer for our customers and the communities we serve.

One of my favourite things about my job is when I get to engage with the public – I am able to meet new people and get paid for it!

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MVTP Constable Justin Biggs ‘connects the dots’ to keep transit and neighbourhoods safe

written by Cst. Justin Biggs, NPO for South Burnaby and New Westminster

As a Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO), I received information from Metrotown Mall security and also another Transit Police Officer that one particular youth who is well known to Transit Police had returned to the Lower Mainland.  This youth was seen with his younger cousin who aspired to be like him according to the younger cousin’s Probation Officer.  These two quickly became involved in crime around SkyTrain Stations with other associates also known to Transit Police.

My concern for public safety and the future of these young men prompted me to host a meeting at Transit Police HQ bringing attention to other police agencies about the youth’s activities.  Representatives from VPD Youth Squad, New Westminster Police, Coquitlam RCMP Robbery Section, Transit Police Crime Reduction Unit (CRU), and Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority Unit (PTEP) all attended.  The discussion focused on the youths’ background, recent offences, and potential for new offences.  The attendees thought the meeting to be very valuable.

The youth who was the subject of that meeting was arrested shortly after, and his interactions with Transit Police briefly ceased.  However, the story doesn’t end there as a number of his recent associates were suspects in cellphone robberies around Metrotown Mall and Station.  There appeared to be a trend in cellphone robberies around Metrotown with at least 15 personal robberies occurring since January 2017 to the end of March according to Burnaby RCMP.

I worked with another Transit Police officer and we were able to identify nearly all the robbery suspects.  Together we took the lead in identifying suspects for Burnaby RCMP and preparing police statements for their Reports to Crown Counsel.  In cases where a suspect was not known, I used my police, probation and community connections to identify witnesses who could identify them.

In Mid-March I arranged a meeting between Burnaby Strike Force, their crime analyst, myself, and my Transit Police colleague.  At this meeting I recommended a Joint Forces Operation between our organizations.  In just one week a Joint Operations project was approved.  I put the Burnaby Strike Force Corporal in touch with our Crime Reduction Unit sergeant and a Joint Forces Operation was planned.

The two youths I prioritized in my January meeting were arrested.  This arrest subsequently led to evidence of a recent robbery in Richmond and a fraud in Vancouver.  To date there have been no cellphone robberies around Metrotown or near the neighboring Patterson and Royal Oak Stations since their arrest.

New Transit Police display to promote SMS text service

Check out our new display at Commercial-Broadway Station. We are promoting our non-emergency text number 87.77.77.

You can text us discreetly and in real time from anywhere on the transit system including the SkyTrain, bus, SeaBus or West Coast Express, or call us at 604-515-8300 if you have witnessed an incident, observed suspicious behaviour or if someone is making you feel uncomfortable.

Add us into your contacts, so we are always there to help. 

Top 5 safety tips for secondary and post-secondary students

If you’re heading off to school on transit by yourself for the first time next week – or you have a child who is – it can be a bit overwhelming. No need to worry though because we’re here to help. Follow our tips to enjoy a safe and stress-free commute.

  1. Know how to call for help – save our contact numbers in your mobile phone: 604.515.8300 or 87.77.77 for texts. Learn about security features on the transit system. Look for transit staff during your journey. Transit Police, SkyTrain Attendants and Canada Line Attendants are often found near the ticket machines or on platforms.
  2. Be confident about where you’re going – plan your route. Leave early so you’re not rushed. Have another route ready as a backup in case there’s a delay on your primary route. Sign up for Transit Alerts.
  3. Keep your personal belongings safe – take your backpack off and put it at your feet. Keep any valuables securely hidden in your bag. Be careful with your phone and other devices, especially when standing near transit vehicle doors.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings –stay in designated waiting areas when possible. Keep one earbud out of your ear so you can hear what’s going on. If you see someone acting in a way that makes you nervous, quietly move away – go to another part of the platform, sit closer to the bus driver, switch SkyTrain cars at the next station, etc. Share your concern with staff.
  5. Report problems – whether someone has touched you inappropriately, you see another person being harassed, you’re worried about the well-being of someone slumped over in a seat, or there’s something else causing you concern, please let us know. Text 87.77.77 and someone will respond right away.

Transit is a great way to get to school and back. We want you to enjoy your trip.

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Policing Moving Cities conference Vancouver, May1st/2nd.

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May 1st and 2nd of 2017, Metro Vancouver Transit Police co-hosted, with the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, what has been hailed as a ‘watershed conference’ for transit police and community safety providers. Delegates attended from across Canada, the U.S. and England.

The conference was addressed by internationally recognized leaders in the policing of bus and rail transit systems. These included Chief Constable Paul Crowther (British Transport Police), Chief Joe Fox (New York Police Department – Transit Bureau), Chief James Spiller (Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department) and Chief Dave Jutilla (King County Metro Transit Police).

Subjects common to all transit safety and security agencies were discussed. These included sexual offending on transit, terrorism, responses to vulnerable people suffering mental illness and essential industry partnerships.

This conference was extremely important, not only with respect to the sharing of the latest information and best practices by agencies directly involved in the policing of transit systems, but also to the leaders of jurisdictional police departments that have Transit Police/Security working within their borders. A better understanding of the challenges and need for strong partnerships was clearly provided.

The conference also had an opportunity to hear from Deputy Solicitor General (British Columbia) Mark Sieben, CEO of TransLink Kevin Desmond and many others on the value that specialist transit policing brings to the dynamic environment of transit. The Chief Constable of Vancouver Police Department and RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bill Fordy also spoke to the same matter.

The conference has been applauded by many and we have already received congratulations from delegates:

“It was an exceptional conference – one of the best conferences I have ever attended”

“ … I found this to be one of the most relevant and informative conferences I have attended in quite some time.”

The resounding message from delegates was that they look forward to the next one.