Updates from February, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:48 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

    A man has been arrested in the deadly shooting Saturday night in St-Laurent, but these items say it was the second homicide of the year.

    I assume this means that the death of Vanessa Primeau last month was declared a homicide, which was suspected but not announced at the time.

    (Kevin, have you started a map yet for 2020?)

    • Kevin 10:45 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

      I won’t be doing a map. I changed jobs in September and I now spend a lot less time online 🙂

    • Kate 13:27 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

      OK, I’ve started one. New homicide map for 2020, links to this one and all Kevin’s previous ones are down the sidebar.

    • dhomas 14:18 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

      Congrats on the new job, Kevin.

      Thanks for picking up the mantle, Kate.

    • MarcG 15:38 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

      Congrats on the new job, Kate.

    • Kate 22:50 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      No such luck, MarcG. I assume you meant Kevin.

  • Kate 19:44 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Some police stations are going to be merged, with NDG for example losing its station and moving its personnel to Côte St-Luc, which seems like an odd choice. Item mentions that local stations have gradually been in decline since 1995, when there were 49 of them, and now there are only 31.

    • Francesco 20:59 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

      30 years later I’m still scratching my head about the original plan to break up the efficient suburban stations into multiple “community policing” outposts.

  • Kate 19:40 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Police have images from the metro platform of the man who assaulted a woman near Beaubien metro on the weekend (and who may have committed similar assaults in other parts of town).

    • Kate 13:16 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

      The city is consulting a range of experts to get advice on new and better methods of dealing with winter conditions.

      • Kate 13:10 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

        The driver of a car was injured Tuesday morning in a collision with an Exo train on the St‑Jérôme line in Ahuntsic. Trains may be stopped on the line for awhile.

      • Kate 09:00 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

        The SPVM is refusing to admit whether it’s using facial recognition software.

        I don’t know why people are fussing. The software and the tech exists, so it will be used. If government, police or commerce claim not to be using it, they will be lying. We simply have to accept that it is now part of public life.

        • Ian 09:13 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          It’s not so much that they refuse to admit but also that they refuse to deny…

          I saw an article pretty recently that mentioned that some SPVM officers were using Clearview without authorization and the organization told them to stop it… but with this article it now seems like maybe they are just using different software and don’t want to admit it?

          Anyway radio-canada made this same statement in this article from last month so I guess people aren’t all that worked up about whether the cops are using facial recognition tech or not if la Presse is publishing this as “news” a full month later.

          Le Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) dit pour sa part ne pas pouvoir “confirmer ou infirmer que le SPVM utilise une quelconque technologie de reconnaissance faciale”, rappelant au passage qu’il “s’assure toujours de mener ses opérations et ses enquêtes en respectant les lois en vigueur”.

        • Kevin 10:03 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Ad companies are now using facial recognition technology to deliver custom messages through electronic billboards at Central Station.

          Which is a guarantee I will never, ever, buy those products.

        • Tim S. 10:54 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          It’s because of stuff like this that I’m trying to convince my kid’s school that posting all kinds of pictures of children on public social media accounts is a bad idea. It’s proving a bit to get through, unfortunately.

        • Kevin 13:31 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Tim S.
          They need your permission to take your kid’s photo and to post it. I get a notice every year.

        • Evan 13:44 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          I travel a lot, and these days wherever there’s a crowd there seems to be people taking video with minicams or phones for social media. the concept of permission or privacy doesn’t really exist anymore, it’s the times we live in.

        • Tim S. 19:58 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Kevin: I get the notice. I fill it out every year. The school posted a bunch of pictures anyways. Even though they took them down from the public feed, there’s probably no way to remove the pictures from the servers and whatever third parties they sold them onto. Trying to explain this to the administration has proved a challenge.

        • Chris 22:51 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          >The software and the tech exists, so it will be used.

          I see that meme a lot, and there’s truth to it, but things are no so absolute.

          The tech also exists to fire small metal projectiles from great distances and anonymously murder someone. Yet this is done very rarely (in our country). Why? Laws. Laws are useful and largely work. Our police also have the tech to just disappear people, yet it (almost) never happens. So it can be with facial recognition. We could ban it. And it’s use could become very rare. (Not saying we should/will, just that we could, and it could work.)

        • Kate 23:19 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          We’re amassing so much surveillance video that it was only a matter of time before we came up with A.I. methods of sorting through it.

          The problem is that sometimes we’ll have a “good” reason to use it, e.g. the current story about the man who attacked the woman on Saturday, mentioned a couple of posts after this one. Police have given out a video still of the presumed assailant with a clear image of his face. If software can put a name to the guy and help the police round him up, I think most people would say go for it.

          The problem begins when the A.I. is allowed to create huge dossiers on all of us and our comings and going and our habits. Most of this material will never be seen by human eyes, but the A.I. will flag up anomalies. What if the A.I. can find people acting shiftily because they may be planning crimes or terrorism? But what if the “crime” is a demonstration against an injustice? What if the A.I. can spot a married person having an affair? What if your boss is warned that you’re looking for a new job? Or the A.I. sees you going into bars so you’re ordered into mandatory rehab?

          Any change of personal routines or habits could be flagged up as suspicious.

          We know that supposedly secure entities like banks and government have had leak after leak of sensitive data, so let’s not kid ourselves that the valuable files of anomalous human activities won’t leak out or be sold on the black market. How much would you pay for your wife not to find out you’ve been seeing a stripper on the side?

          We have to learn to live with this.

        • Robert H 12:47 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

          My reservations exactly. In this world, there’s no such thing as an unmixed blessing.

      • Kate 08:56 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

        A report from the STM admits that the reliability of its bus network in 2019 was the worst it has been in 20 years in terms of adhering to a schedule. A combination of the long harsh winter, the proliferation of construction detours and the STM’s maintenance problems are all blamed.

        I have to say, last year was a bad one for circuitous detours on the bus. More than once I felt trapped as a driver took a long loop away from where I intended to go, refusing to let anyone leave the bus till the detour was over. I was also taken to metro stations where I didn’t want to go, forced to walk long blocks on last winter’s icy sidewalks, and more than once frustrated to discover that a bus I needed to take had been cancelled or moved from its usual location. The STM seemed to have a problem keeping its apps updated with the current detour situation, and that’s a thing it could fix, given it has no control over the state of street repairs.

        In related news, the city has recognized that buses damage road surfaces and is looking into what it can do to help avoid this.

        • Ian 09:01 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          I’ve seen drivers calling in to dispatch for specific instructions block by block on how to access a detour – I get a feeling that in some cases the changes are happening in real time too quickly to update apps with, even the drivers are in constant radio contact in case a new construction detour gets put up or whatever.

        • Kate 09:15 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Hmm, granted. And I see I already ranted about this once. I had a little time off last summer and it simply became a bad joke that if I went out I could reliably assume that some bus I intended to take that day would either not show up, or not go where it was expected to go.

        • Ian 09:22 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          As to the bus damage article, after Parc got completely dug up and repaved some years back, the road right next to the bus stops fairly quickly turned into giant ruts, within the first year. In the winter the freeze-thaw crumbled them, in the spring they got patched, and the following spring it was the same thing. Finally the city wised up and instead of throwing patches on patches they cut out those sections & replaced the patches with concrete slabs. They haven’t had to repair them since.

        • jeather 10:43 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Yesterday the 24 bus I was on was in fact calling in for detour suggestions around McGill.

          I think most buses will allow you off on the detour, or at least I’ve never had trouble (on the 24 yesterday, a bunch of times on the 55 last summer).

        • Kate 13:22 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          jeather, several times last year I encountered drivers who would not let anyone off until they’d reached some distant arbitrary point. Things they said at the time made me suspect this was a new policy. In general, previously, drivers had been flexible about it, although noticeably hesitant to allow new passengers to board at stops they normally wouldn’t’ve been passing.

        • Meezly 13:34 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Some bus drivers prefer adhering to STM rules/policy about where to stop even if this inconveniences passengers. I feel these drivers are probably also car drivers and don’t take bus transit much. I always appreciate the drivers that are willing to be flexible, esp. in the winter when it’s harder for people to be mobile. They seem to recognize they are actually providing a service to passengers, and not putting up with us.

          I’ve been regularly taking the 80 Parc and 480 Express (formerly 435) for several years, and various routes Downtown-Griffintown even longer. Last year was the worst with the road construction on Ste-Catherine which re-routed many downtown buses, and the maintenance software issue, which apparently took buses off the roads. This year, I must admit I noticed some improvements: the 80 seems to running more reliably and now that Ste-Catherine is accessible again, the 35 Griffintown has been a welcome addition make up for the infrequency of the 61 and crowded 168.

          My only barometer is that I read my annual magazine subscription and this season, I’ve been completely noticeably more issues than in previous years because I’ve been able to sit on a bus!

      • Kate 08:43 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

        As all the world knows, the train division of Bombardier has been sold to Alstom. It’s still in the midst of making metro cars for the STM.

        • Ian 09:16 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Kind of interesting that the spun-off ski-doo & sea-doo division is now actually trading higher on the stock market than its former parent.

          So now that they sold off their commercial plane biz to Airbus & now trains to Alstom they’re all the way back to corporate private jets like back in the times before the government threw so many billions of dollars at them to expand into other markets.

          I know that created a lot of jobs and basically an entire business sector in Quebec but I wonder if that money had been invested more wisely, like, say, in green tech, if we wouldn’t all be better off.

        • Orr 17:38 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          If you are talking about R&D investment in green technology, it is worth noting that the 100% all-new Bombardier CSeries / now Airbus A220 is one of the most fuel efficient, therefore greenest, airplanes in the world. This plane is a stellar example of the top quality engineering talent in the Montreal region.

        • Ian 19:06 on 2020-02-18 Permalink

          Oh please. Regardless of the semantics of whether the least sinful of all sinners is somehow a saint, that Airbus now owns the division makes the point moot.

        • ant6n 03:01 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

          Rail tech _is_ green tech.

        • Francesco 21:06 on 2020-02-19 Permalink

          @ant6n …was just going to say…

        • Ian 20:52 on 2020-02-21 Permalink

          Only in comparison to cars. Imagine if all that R&D was put into solar farms or windmill tech.
          People are super obsessed with transportation on this blog but most of our usage in Montreal isn’t jet planes and trains.

      • Kate 08:03 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

        Following a random attack on the weekend in which a woman was hit on the head by a man wielding a stick, several similar incidents are described in other parts of town in recent months with the suggestion the same attacker could be responsible.

        • Kate 07:50 on 2020-02-18 Permalink | Reply  

          A body was found in a burning car in TMR early Tuesday. Police have not yet determined whether it was a homicide.

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