A man is calling for more safety measures on public transit after being punched and the stabbed on an Edmonton LRT platform.
Global News has agreed not to identify the victim for fear of retribution.
Edmonton police said they received a call at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday about a stabbing at the University LRT station.
Police said it was reported to them that the victim boarded a train at Corona Station and exited at the University Station, where he was followed and verbally harassed by a man. The victim was then assaulted and stabbed in the arm by the man, who then fled the scene, according to police.
“When I got punched in the face and got attacked by the knife, the guy who attacked me also got scared, so he escaped from the University Station escalators,” the victim said. “I wanted to get back (on) the train, but a group of people stopped other passengers saying, ‘it’s his problem.’
“People stopped me getting on the train and they stopped others from getting off the train to help me, even though the (person) who attacked me already left.
“The bystanders also hurt me because it made me not trust the community anymore.”
The victim said he made his way to the emergency button on the platform to call for help.
“I thought it was a public area. There should be security instead of me waiting there alone for 15 to 20 minutes waiting for an ambulance.”
The victim is an international student from China, but says he did not feel the attack was racially motivated.
He hopes his terrifying experience will lead to more safety measures on Edmonton transit.
Police said the victim was treated at the scene by officers in under 10 minutes after being called and a suspect was arrested a short time later near University Avenue and 114 Street.
David Durocher, 30, has been charged with aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a weapon.
The University of Alberta International Students’ Association (ISA) also wants Edmonton police to have a greater presence at the city’s LRT stations and asked the university’s campus security to work more effectively with police to shorten response times if incidents do happen at LRT stations.
“International students are most dependent on public transit and thus as a city it is the responsibility of the local authorities to ensure that our public transit is safe to use,” the association said.
Earlier this year, the city said it was adding more security measures starting in late February in response to an increase of harassment, discrimination and crime at some transit centres.
Ten additional security guards were deployed to transit facilities “based on intelligence-led data,” who have been complimenting the team already monitoring the 19 LRT and transit stations.
“Security guards have direct access to the ETS Control Centre that can dispatch transit peace officers, or the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), if needed,” the city said.
The city said additional measures were also put in place:
- Proactive patrols on transit (EPS, community engagement teams, transit peace officers) to educate, liaise with support services
- Blue emergency phones in LRT stations and transit centres
- Push buttons on LRT cars
- New Transit Watch text message service — a discreet way to contact ETS Control Centre (text or call 780-442-4900)
- More than 3,900 surveillance cameras
On Monday, Mayor Don Iveson said the city has and continues to work hard to make public transportation safe for users.
“There are cameras everywhere on the system and the city is able to see what is happening, and then that video is very helpful in the investigation and ultimately prosecution of accountability around violence, whatever motivates it,” Iveson said.
“I’ve been in the control centre and seen what the folks in the system can see and what our peace officers can see and how resources are deployed, and that gives me a measure of confidence that I just want to share with the public. It’s very robust.”
— With files from Global News reporter Emily Mertz