Responses to recent shootings

The CBC covered some of the local responses to the recent shootings in Weston and the surrounding area. Several community groups were included, including Stachen Frederick from Frontlines.

Image from the CBC

At a meeting on Wednesday, she saw someone get the call that a relative had been injured.

“More and more youth are becoming fearful of living in this community,” Frederick said.

They try to engage children as young as six at Frontlines, with youth programming ranging from homework help to fitness and cooking classes. About 460 young people come through their doors a year.

Frederick says there needs to be more effort from all levels of government and more funding so places like Frontlines can be open later and offer more to young people.

She also says there’s a lack of spaces for young people in the community.

Two shot at Weston bar. One dead

Two men were shot the Red Room restaurant on Jane Street. One was killed.

The police say a “man walked in and started shooting”. One man died on the scene. The other was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries.

This is the second shooting in Weston and the fourth shooting in the area in recent weeks.

Shootings in Weston this week

It’s been a terrible week for crime and around Weston.There have been three shooting incidents in the neighbourhood that have left at least eight injured, though, thankfully, nobody dead.

On Wednesday, a woman and man were very badly injured in a senseless shooting at a home on Conron Place, near Weston and Church. Two masked criminals shot indiscriminately through the door and windows of their home,  a multi-tenant building. A 71-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman were rushed to the hospital. The woman was in life-threatening condition.

From Google Maps

 

Earlier that  day, at approximately 7:30 p.m., there was a shooting nar  Black Creek Drive and Trethewey. The police say that a group of young people were gathered in a hallway of a low-rise building when “three males approached the building in a black sedan, went directly to the floor the group was on, and began shooting at the group”.

Four young people were shot and taken to hospital. A fifth was found at the hospital seeking help.

On Thursday morning, a man was shot in a parking lot near Jane Street and Harding Ave. Two men were sitting in their car when three men approached and shot at them. A 29-year-old man was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Family moves to Weston and loves it.

This is a headline that will never be seen outside of this publication. Good news will always takes second place to crime and violence.

‘If it bleeds it leads’ is often used in the news business.  News outlets want images and videos violence and crime scenes. It’s visual clickbait and improves ratings. Positive news doesn’t stand a chance alongside death and destruction. As a result, our view of the outside world is often distorted. The media’s focus on violence gives a false impression of our society making it seem more dangerous than it is.

From nicmaxxonline.com

Millions of Torontonians achieve happiness and success daily and nobody gets to hear about it. That’s the nature of news.

When it comes to Weston, things are no different. Hundreds of people moved to Weston in the past couple of years. The vast majority are happy to be here and lead satisfying, productive lives. Sadly, there have been shootings and other acts of violence in our community and these get the lion’s share of attention and that’s not always a bad thing because it’s important that something is done to find the causes and solutions.

Unfortunately, the press has a short attention span. After violent events, the police are asked what they will do to counter an upsurge in violence. The answer is usually a temporary band aid fix until things improve or until other news comes along. We all know that treating the symptoms rather than causes is ineffective.

I am a great fan of probability. This is the branch of mathematics that tries to calculate the likelihood of events. Probabilities are expressed by a number between 0 and 1. For example, the probability of a hot sunny day at this time of year is almost 0. The probability of matching six numbers in Lotto 6/49 is ridiculously close to 0. On the other hand, the probability that a Toronto pedestrian will be hit by a car today is close to 1 (More than two thousand people are hit by cars every year in Toronto).

Our ability to judge probabilities is notoriously poor. For example, how likely are two people in a group of 30 people to have the same birthday?  It’s about 0.7. Put this another way; ask 30 people to think of a number between 1 and 365 and you have an excellent chance that two of those people will guess the same number.

Many of us have bought lottery tickets feeling our chances of matching all six numbers are reasonable enough to keep buying tickets. Certainly much higher than the roughly one in 14 million chance (approx 0.000000071428571428571 as a number) Consider how optimistic we feel when checking our numbers and compare that to our actual chance.

Lotteries; a tax on the mathematically challenged?

What are your chances of getting hit by a car? It depends. If you’re a senior, out on a rainy night, wear dark clothing and cross the road, especially between intersections, your risk is higher. This is not to attach blame to the pedestrian (motorists are legally required to drive safely and adapt to the prevailing conditions) but all of these factors are definitely a consideration, especially when we know that there are intoxicated, careless and inattentive drivers out there.

We can control many risks in our daily lives. We wear seat belts in the car and stay away from the subway platform edge. These are sensible and proven precautions aimed at a real risk. On the other hand, when we overestimate the odds of something happening, our quality of life can suffer.

The probability of being attacked by a shark is tiny – close to that of matching all six numbers. If you stay out of the water, you improve your odds but lose the joy of swimming in an ocean. Yes, people get ‘taken’ by sharks and people also win the El Gordo but we deprive ourselves and limit our possibilities by overestimating dangers.

Crime is generally not random. Attackers are often known by their victims. Much violent crime occurs at night and on weekends most crimes happen at night. Poor and cooler weather seems to discourage crime. July is the month when most shootings occur and January / February have the least. Our current crime wave seems to be partly driven by domestic terrorists looking for notoriety by targeting (usually young and black) people in other neighbourhoods. Social media seems to be the place where they can bask in their new-found notoriety.

So where does that leave people who see crime stories and decide that an area is no longer safe? Is this a reasonable response?

The answer is clearly no for most people.

What can residents do to lower their risk of being a victim?

Since there’s little risk in the first place, the best advice is to carry on and not be ruled by fear. You still cross the road and that’s the most dangerous thing that anyone can do in this city. By fearfully abandoning a neighbourhood, you become a part of the problem and you lower your own quality of life.

To the families who have made Weston their home in recent years; welcome. You were right to move here. Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying your new neighbourhood.

If you see crime you can report it and be rewarded anonymously here.

Scammers defrauding Westonians

A Weston woman—a widow and senior citizen—says she has been scammed out of more than $30,000 by men pretending to be contractors.

The men offered to fix her driveway and a leak in her basement. They began work, excavating around the foundation, and claimed that ever more work needed to be done. They then asked for increasing payments, in cash. After the final payment, they fled, leaving the work very incomplete. The woman now requires a second contractor to come and finish the job.

The contractors and modus operandi fit the description of a fraud being perpetrated across the city.

  • Seniors are solicited by door-to-door salesmen offering to fix the driveway and basement
  • Work is begun and ever-increasing payments are required for work that doesn’t need to be done
  • They ask for cash and will even walk the victims to the ATM

The police are looking for three men,

The first suspect is described as white, five-foot-10, with short dark hair and a medium build. The suspect had a “heavy Scottish accent.”

The second suspect is described as white, five-foot-10, with fair skin, an athletic build and blue eyes. The suspect also had a “heavy Scottish accent.”

The last suspect is also described as white, five-foot-10, in his late thirties, with dark short hair and a muscular build.

 

Some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Only hire licensed contractors
  • Do not accept work solicited at your door
  • Get multiple estimates on paper
  • Obtain referrals
  • Do not pay in cash, and never pay upfront

 

Weston pharmacist gets 13 years in jail

A pharmacist at Weston PharmaChoice on Lawrence has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for dealing fentanyl. A Weston-area doctor was a co-conspirator. He will be sentenced next month.

Shereen El-Azrak was convicted of selling 2,780 fentanyl patches fraudulently prescribed by Dr George Otto, who worked at a walk-in clinic near Jane and Wilson.

The court estimates that she distributed up to 6,400 patches, worth more than a million dollars on the street.

For each ‘patient’ (each of whom received many patches) Otto received a kickback of $1500, and El-Azrak got $500, according to Global News. The fentanyl packages were sold to two middlemen, who distributed them across the province, as far away as Sudbury.

 

El-Azrak also worked as a pharmacist at the Humber River Regional Hospital, according to The Globe and Mail.

Shooting at Weston and King

The police are investigating a shooting that took place at Weston and King around 5:30 this afternoon. They say that five males in a silver four-door car shot at another vehicle. No victims were located at the time, though 680 reports that a man checked himself into hospital a short time later.