There were fewer reported crimes against Calgary Transit riders last year, according to officials.

The rate of crime on Calgary Transit property dropped in 2008 to 2.02 crimes per one million riders, down from a three-year high of 2.95 crimes the year before.

Transit safety co-ordinator Brian Whitelaw said part of the decrease could be directly linked to the fact Transit has more peace officers walking the platforms and riding the rails, not to mention closed-circuit camera technologies.

“I certainly think the visible presence played a contributing role in that reduction,” he said, adding people feel safer when there is a visible presence. “It’s something we’d like to try and provide for buses, too.”

Despite the safety audit report a few weeks ago that said 38 per cent of Calgarians don’t feel safe riding transit at night, Whitelaw said Calgary is one of the safest cities in Canada to ride transit, comparable with Montreal.

“Crime is low on Calgary Transit. The risk of being victimized on transit is extremely low.”

However, Michelle Anderson rides transit across the city on a daily basis and she says she doesn’t feel safe day or night.

“I have had so many incidents that are nothing short of harassment. I’m terrified, but it’s convenient and inexpensive to ride. I just don’t enjoy the experience,” the 20-year-old said.

She does feel much safer though, when she sees peace officers riding the trains when she is.

“I feel a lot safer because they are there and can see some of the crazy things that go on and help,” she said, adding she would like to see more officers in the future.

Last year, there were 44 new peace officers patrolling Calgary Transit and with the help of Calgary police, Whitelaw said they responded to more calls than the year before.

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