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Stopping Suicides Using Social Media @GoTransit & @RealTimeCrisis


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GO Transit and Real Time Crisis at 2014 Municipal Licensing & Law Enforcement Forum May 14, 2014. Presenters Steve Weir of Go Transit Safety Officers, Nurse Anne Marie Batten of Real Time Crisis Intervention and Scott Mills. For more info visit

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Stopping Suicides Using Social Media @GoTransit & @RealTimeCrisis

  1. 1. Operation Lifesaver – A Real Time Crisis Approach Protecting Communities by Spreading Awareness Presentation To: AMCTO Law Enforcement Forum May 2014
  2. 2. GO Transit – long history of moving people GO TransitGO Transit began as a three-year experiment on May 23, 1967 runningbegan as a three-year experiment on May 23, 1967 running single-deck, seven coach trains on a single rail line along Lake Ontario'ssingle-deck, seven coach trains on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline averaging 15,000 passengersshoreline averaging 15,000 passengers per dayper day
  3. 3. Growth, growth and more growth GO Transit, a Division of MetrolinxGO Transit, a Division of Metrolinx now operates Bombardier bi-level, 12now operates Bombardier bi-level, 12 coach trains on seven lines connecting Barrie, Niagara Falls, Hamiltoncoach trains on seven lines connecting Barrie, Niagara Falls, Hamilton and Oshawa averaging in excess of 250,000 boardings per day.and Oshawa averaging in excess of 250,000 boardings per day.
  4. 4. • 30-minute each-way service all day along the Lakeshore Rail Line(s)30-minute each-way service all day along the Lakeshore Rail Line(s) • At least 96% of the train ridership is to and from Union Station in downtownAt least 96% of the train ridership is to and from Union Station in downtown TorontoToronto • In 2015, Air Rail link will consist of 140 daily trips running every 15 minutes, sevenIn 2015, Air Rail link will consist of 140 daily trips running every 15 minutes, seven days a week, carrying an estimated 2 million passengers annuallydays a week, carrying an estimated 2 million passengers annually • Expanded peak train service on most corridors and will have introduced new off-Expanded peak train service on most corridors and will have introduced new off- peak train servicepeak train service Expansion – Improvements
  5. 5. • Transit Safety Officers are responsible for ensuring passenger safety, customer service, asset protection, crime prevention and ensuring the integrity of the proof of payment (POP) fare system. • This is accomplished through the strategic deployment of staff based on historical trends, data analysis and customer input. Transit Safety Officers – The part you probably knew
  6. 6. • TSOs are responsible for: – Enforcing the Metrolinx Act bylaws – Enforcing, processing, and arresting persons in contravention of: – Criminal Code of Canada – Controlled Drugs & Substances Act – Youth Criminal Justice Act – TPA, LLA, MHA, SSA – Providing assistance and protection to GO Transit customers and their property, employees and corporate assets and ensuring the appropriate action is taken. Promoting and maintaining good customer relations. – Conducting prevention & deterrence patrols of infrastructure, stations, rolling stock. – Maintaining the public peace within the GO Transit system. Transit Safety Officers – The part you may not have known
  7. 7. Vast Area of Coverage 80+ Special Constables 15+ Provincial Offences Officers 9 Dispatchers
  8. 8. Well over 100 Suicides in 10 yearsWell over 100 Suicides in 10 years • Average 10/yr.Average 10/yr. • Train delays can be between 3 – 5 hrs.Train delays can be between 3 – 5 hrs. • Impacts on 50,000+ rush hour passengersImpacts on 50,000+ rush hour passengers – 50,000 passengers, single point of departure, 90 trains (GO Transit)50,000 passengers, single point of departure, 90 trains (GO Transit) Railway Fatalities – Suicides is a real and present concern
  9. 9. These are more than just statistics
  10. 10. Operation Lifesaver = Traditional • Uses age-appropriate material to educate the public on the dangers of trespassing on or near train tracks
  11. 11. Officer School Presentations Plan to present to all schools in service region over 4 years 124 schools - 3 presentations per school = 372 presentations completed so far
  12. 12. Commitment to Public Safety • We recognize the potential safety hazards presented by public transportation services • We take our customer’s safety and the safety of the public seriously • We are committed to proactively sharing safety information in the community embrace opportunities to demonstrate that we are good corporate citizens within our community • Ongoing participation of GO Transit Safety at public events shows our commitment • We are always on the look-out for community events that we can participate in to share our safety message
  13. 13. Our Traditional Approach was not enough Operation Lifesaver – Real Time Crisis • Service Recovery Improved • Educational Awareness Improved • Suicides rates did not improve • Staff initiative to become active on twitter led to partnership with Real Time Crisis • Almost immediately – suicide rates improved (even one is a dramatic invaluable improvement)
  14. 14. • Leading cause of death by injury is suicide. (2012 study published in the American Journal of Public Health.) • Suicide has increased by 15% over the past 10 years. • Social Media is the most prevalent form of communication currently being used. • Twitter users send over 400 million tweets a day • There are 288 million active monthly users and over 500 million registered accounts on Twitter. • 25% of smart phone owners between the ages of 18-44 say they cant recall the last time their smart phone wasn’t next to them. STATISTICS:
  15. 15. What are the options for a youth who comes across a tweet like
  16. 16. WHAT IS REAL TIME CRISIS? Board Members Contribut ors@Zengarden1 7 @GORivett94 @Andrewstwt @ClaireSMB B @Paisleyrae @USACrimeSt op @AnneMarieB atten @Lawscomm @MediatedRe ality @Precontempl ator
  17. 17. STRUCTURE • Charitable organization incorporating under the laws of Canada (Thank you to @BLGLaw) • Professionally trained staff in area of mental health emergencies • Began operations in Toronto, Canada, with the goal of expanding throughout Canada and the United States
  18. 18. VISION The recognized leader in real-time intervention while becoming the leading authority regarding positive and negative effects of social media communications during traumatic events.MISSION Connecting Real Time Professionals in Real Time Interventions
  19. 19. PURPOSE • Trained professionals saving and improving lives through the utilization of social media tools and resources. • Empowering and promoting safety and successful outcomes through the engagement and development of trusted relationships. • Excel by bridging the gap between community, social services and law enforcement through virtual crisis
  20. 20. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? *Simulated Tweets Based on Actual
  21. 21. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? *Simulated Tweets Based on Actual Occurrences
  22. 22. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? *Simulated Tweets Based on Actual
  23. 23. REAL TIME CRISIS CAN…. Locate the person via a geo tag. Contact Go Transit or TTC safety officers to hold the next train. Intervene with the person in hopes of prolonging the conversation.
  24. 24. *Actual occurrence
  25. 25. *Actual occurrence
  26. 26. *Actual occurrence
  27. 27. *Actual occurrence
  29. 29. 7 DAYS LATER *Actual occurrence
  30. 30. ENGAGE-ASSESS- RESPOND-SAFETY • ENGAGE- Crisis Nurse engages directly with person at risk, reaches out in a nonjudgmental way. • ASSESS- Mental health risk assessment. • RESPOND- Response is determined by level of risk. • SAFETY- For person at risk, all service providers involved.
  31. 31. REAL TIME CRISIS GOALS • Manage call for mental-health related calls with a social media component for the Toronto Police Service or any other police, education or social service. • Looking to reduce 911 calls for service, policing hours and visits to the emergency department • Looking to save and improve lives by building trusted relationships using technology. • Collaborate with community partners such as Victim Services, Go Transit officers, probation officers, leaders in the education sector and community mental health supporters • Provide social media support for interested community partners already helping others but not currently using
  32. 32. WHY REAL TIME CRISIS? Potential for assistance in: •Mental health intervention •Youth cyber bullying related matters •Domestic violence •Sexual assault •Human trafficking Some persons at risk are unable to call for help but can use a smart phone and obtain a connection and help silently.
  33. 33. WHY REAL TIME CRISIS? Individuals who have received support from the nurse and officer from Real Time Crisis continue to reach out for help on social media post intervention but direct their concerns to RTC in lieu of police intervention. •One female has reached out over 100 times, police and ER were only needed 3 of those times. A successful online intervention can prevent an escalation that may potentially lead to an emergency response that could result in injury for the person at risk and the service provider.
  36. 36. HER INSTAGR AM WAS SET TO PRIVATE *Actual occurrence
  39. 39. NEXT STEP: A goal of #RealTimeCrisis would be to keep her engaged positively and to keep her out of street life using social media tools.  She ended up calling her Mom and going home the following day. Social media appeal assisted with this. 
  40. 40. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION Contact Real Time Crisis Twitter: @RealTimeCrisis Facebook: Instagram: RealTimeCrisis Email: Search for Real Time Crisis on Slide Share for this presentation Visit for more information