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SafeTTC app tips lead to 3 arrests

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 21st, 2017

It’s only been operating for 10 weeks, but the SafeTTC app has already helped lead to three arrests.

To date, the app has received 574 reports – 22 per cent of those surrounded allegations of harassment, according to statistics provided to CityNews by the TTC.

“We’ve had over 500 reports filed. The most common report is harassment,” explained TTC spokesperson Susan Sperling.

The app, which is free to download and use, allows riders to discreetly submit videos, photos and texts about unwanted behavior to the TTC control centre. Submitting a tip doesn’t immediately summon emergency personnel, but tips received through the app have been connected to arrests in two allegations of sexual assaults and one robbery.

“Our goal with this app was to make the TTC safer and we can see that that’s already happening,” said Sperling.

Since its launch in September, 2,700 users have downloaded the SafeTTC app.

The TTC’s #ThisIsWhere campaign, which launched at the same time as the app, has encouraged commuters to take to social media with their experiences of racism, violence or harassment while riding the red rocket.

The campaign features posters and stickers placed prominently in TTC stations and vehicles. The billboards recount actual experiences like “#ThisIsWhere Agatha leaned away when someone leaned in to kiss her” and “#ThisIsWhere Savi faced violence when confronting a racist.”

But one expert is worried the campaign’s tone could be taking away from its actual message.

“Essentially people are reading these ads all over the place that are saying all the bad things that are happening on the TTC,” said marketing and business specialist Marc Gordon.

“They’re seeing this and they’re thinking, wow, is the TTC that dangerous, is this bus dangerous, is this subway car dangerous, because they’re being reminded of all the bad things that happened on it. And I’m worried that they’re to be focusing on that rather than really the core message that the TTC is trying to make sure these things don’t happen by empowering passengers to do something about it.”

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