Kingston police say a brutal assault at a west-end transit hub may not be an isolated incident.
According to police, acts of violence in the city’s west end are on the rise in recent years, prompting public safety concerns in that part of the city.
The area, which includes the Cataraqui Centre and the Isabel Turner Library, has seen an increase in crime in recent years, police say.
“Post-COVID, we’ve seen an uptick in the amount of activity with youth and young adults in the area of 945-935 Gardiners Rd., and the park in behind. Some of the activity that we’ve seen are assaults, possession and usage of weapons, drugs, mental health, harassment,” said Const. Ashley Jackson of the Kingston Police CORE unit.
After a violent group assault at a bus shelter on March 10 sent one person to hospital, it raises questions about safety in the area, and on Kingston transit.
Some riders are being more cautious now, while others don’t seem to be bothered by it.
“I’m a little bit sketchy on that one. I don’t really like taking the busses now, but I have to because I don’t drive,” said Robert Leeman, transit rider.
“It’s mostly elderly people, or teenagers, mostly. They can be annoying sometimes, the teenagers, but not always. The elderly people are always nice and they respect each other,” said Amrudha Bahuleyan, transit rider.
For those who do feel unsafe riding the bus, there are options to ensure your safety as a passenger.
“If anybody at any time feels unsafe while they’re on a bus, please approach the bus operator with your concern. Our bus operators are always in contact with our transit control centre, and if assistance is required, then we can arrange and make that happen,” said Jeremy DaCosta, Kingston’s director of transit.
Const. Jackson says a lot of the activity police are seeing stems from the Lions Civic Gardens.
Police say since there are no surveillance cameras in this park, they will be keeping an eye on this area.
“Kingston police is stepping up patrols in the area, trying to ensure the community’s safety. What we’re asking is for members of the public, if you see or hear anything suspicious in the area, that you call Kingston police, whether it be by phone, or reporting it online,” Const. Jackson said.
So with these extra patrols, and with some help from the public, police are hoping that the west end of the city can be a safe place for all.