Doreen Flynn was preparing to disembark a bus at Hurdman Station when a man nudged her from behind. He wanted her out of his way.
Flynn says she gave him space, but he didn’t seem satisfied. He yelled at her, she yelled back. Then he hit her.
“He just backhanded me across the face and the lip,” said Flynn. “I never saw it coming.”
Crime happens on city buses, but recent security measures such as the introduction of special constables in April 2007 have managed to reduce the number of incidents, according to Kimberly Weston-Martin, Program Manager of the Transit Special Constables.
“People don’t want to mess with … authority bestowed on the constables,” she said. “This is not just a slap on the hand; it’s an actual criminal charge.”
Still, constables can’t be everywhere. There is a ‘Good Samaritan’ component to keeping order on the busy transit ways, according to Weston-Martin. Often victims — much less witnesses — do not remain on scene to help security in its investigation.
“Frequently people will scream at the time of the incident and then leave. So we have no victim and no bad guy,” she said. “This is serious. It’s important people keep that in mind and be co-operative.”
When incidents like the Flynn assault occur, constables investigate to find the culprit. Videotapes will be consulted to track down the suspect.
In the Flynn incident, the assailant simply walked away. She wanted to publicize the incident out of concern for other passengers’ safety.
“I’m just thankful he didn’t pull out a knife or a gun,” said Flynn.