Throwing back beer while sitting next to a plain-clothed cop had some OC Transpo riders regretting their bravado — or stupidity — over the weekend as Ottawa police conducted another undercover blitz.
St. Paddy’s Day or not, “you’re on the bus. You shouldn’t be drinking,” said acting Insp. Michel Marin.
Teaming up with Transpo’s special constables and fare inspectors, the sweep on Transitway routes between downtown and Orleans resulted in more than 100 provincial offences and by-law charges.
“Friday night was a little quieter, Saturday night was a little busier,” Marin said.
The initiative was targeting the end of March Break.
“We figured there would probably be a lot more people on the bus, and it’s to ensure everybody’s safety,” said Marin.
“Even if you get a bus with 150 on it, you get, you know, one or two people that have ill intentions and it’ll ruin the evening for everybody.”
The majority of offences were liquor-related.
“If somebody’s drinking on the bus and he’s being brazen about that, it may lead to something else, so it’s the old Broken Windows theory where if you address the small stuff, the bigger stuff will take care of itself,” said Marin, noting he was out on the blitz and saw a man boozing it up.
“He was an adult — old enough to know better,” he said.
Two young offenders also should’ve been wiser; both were arrested as suspects in robbery cases.
With the frequency of smartphones being snatched on transit property, the sting was planned “mostly to address the personal robbery issues,” said Marin, adding no cell phones were stolen during the east-end operation.
Riders can expect to see more plain-clothed officers conducting sweeps.
“I would expect it’s going to be happening intermittently over the year,” said Marin.
“March and spring time, I think it’s a good time to send a message.”
Some blitzes are complaint-driven.
However, “we don’t really have expectations when we do this,” Marin said.
The following charges were laid:
-23 Provincial Offence Notices (Liquor Licence, Trespass to Property, Highway Traffic and Safe Streets Acts)
-81 Transit by-laws for fare violations
-1 warning for possession of a controlled substance (Control Drugs and Substances Act)
-2 counts Provincial Offences Act bench warrants
-1 man arrested for a bench warrant
-2 men arrested for breach of probation warrants