SafeTTC app helped lead to sexual assault arrest, says TTC

TTC subway car

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is crediting its new smartphone app for helping in the arrest of a man charged with two accounts of sexual assault.

Released in early September, the SafeTTC app lets users anonymously report problems in TTC vehicles and stations, such as harassment and suspicious activity, which will then be investigated by transit officials and, if necessary, Toronto police.

Twenty-one-year-old Troy Maru is accused of assaulting two women in different TTC stations earlier this year. The first incident took place on March 28th at York Mills station, when police allege a man assaulted a 15-year-old girl on an escalator.

The second incident, meanwhile, occurred at St. Andrew station on September 24th, with police saying the man approached a 27-year-old woman from behind on a staircase and assaulted her as well.

The victim of the second assault reported the crime through the SafeTTC app, which TTC said was received by transit control and TTC special constables were immediately notified. Although the app does allow for anonymous submissions, the woman opted to leave her phone number, which TTC said officers used to contact her.

After meeting with her, the TTC said it reviewed surveillance footage and identified the suspect in the second incident as the same individual who was allegedly involved in the first case from March.

The TTC then issued an internal alert that included a picture of the suspect, with police later spotting and arresting him at Bloor-Yonge Station.

“This app actually did what we wanted it to do, it allowed a victim to report to us directly an assault,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross told The Toronto Star. “We were able to use that information to make an arrest, to get somebody off the system who was already wanted as a suspect for another assault. I think that is powerful and is very positive.”

According to the TTC, the SafeTTC app and its accompanying public awareness campaign cost $700,000, with more than 1,600 downloads and 200 filed reports to date.

The SafeTTC app can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices.

Via: The Toronto Star