April 19, 2016 12:28 pm
Updated: April 20, 2016 10:29 am

Record highs in 2015 for reports of sexual crimes in Montreal metro

WATCH ABOVE: Police forces in Montreal, Laval and Longueuil, in collaboration with the STM and AMT, launched a new campaign Tuesday to raise awareness about the importance of taking action against sexual assault on public transit. Kelly Greig reports.

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MONTREAL –  It was an unprecedented year for reports of sexual crimes in the metro. In 2015, 65 reports of both sexual contact and exhibitionism were filed.

Incidents have been on the rise for the past three years.

In 2014, 31 crimes were reported. This year there are already 20.

Montreal Police said that even though the numbers of reported sexual crimes were up,  people still weren’t coming forward.

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“[Victims] do in social media but they don’t do officially,” said Montreal Police spokesperson Carole Lalonde. “For us the first step to an arrest is to officially denounce these misbehaviours.”

So why don’t people report these crimes?

That’s a case the police still haven’t cracked.

“We don’t know. Maybe they’re afraid, maybe they feel guilty, or they don’t think we can do something about it,” Lalonde said. “Of course we can. There are a lot of cameras and witnesses in the trains.”

Montreal, Laval and Longueuil police forces, along with the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) were handing out flyers at the Berri-UQAM station Tuesday morning.

They’re encouraging victims and witnesses of these crimes to report them.

Montreal Police have 132 officers patrolling the metro. Add to that 50 STM inspectors.

Despite the numbers, commuters were split on whether they felt safe.

” It depends. Sometimes there’s a lot of homeless people along the green line. Sometimes it’s safe and sometimes it’s not safe,” said  Maryse Lecluse, outside  the Berri-UQAM station.

“I feel totally safe. I take it every morning and everything is going fine,” said student Stephanie Trudel.

“I wouldn’t be in the metro at nine  in the evening. At that time I wouldn’t feel safe,” said Jeanette Houle before heading onto the orange line.

Most of the crimes don’t occur late at night, but rather during rush hour.

“We’re mostly talking about sexual contacts when the trains are crowded during the rush hour,” Lalonde said.

Police recommend immediately notifying STM employees or calling 911 if it occurs, whether you’re a victim or a witness.

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