Total crime in Weston has been falling for the past seven years, according to data made available by the CBC. There are areas of concern, however, and crime rates here are still higher than in the city as a whole.
Break and enter crimes have fallen the most; in 2011, there were 45 break-ins, compared to 127 in 2005. Auto thefts are down almost as much, from 91 in 2004 to 32 last year. Those are declines of about 66%.
Not all categories of crime show similar decline, however; drug arrests are generally flat, and, indeed, showed an increase last year, perhaps because of the increased police presence from TAVIS. Assaults and sexual assaults showed no decline (but no increase either).
Almost half of all crimes in Weston are assaults, but almost all assaults are domestic. (I watch the police blotter every day; public fights are extremely rare.) The rate of assault, however, is troublingly high.
There have been many upsetting robberies lately in Weston; generally youth and children have their electronics stolen. After reaching a low in 2008, robberies rebounded to a new high last year: 66 people were robbed in 2011. That is simply far too many, and the victims are often our most vulnerable. We have a robbery rate in Weston that is about four times the national average.
Yet, as the chart shows, Weston has a street crime rate generally no worse than in Canada as a whole. The statistics are hard to gather¹, but I feel comfortable concluding that we are a little less safe on our streets than in Toronto proper, but about as safe as elsewhere in the country—simply because Toronto is an extremely safe city. In 2010, it was the safest city of any size in Canada.
The spreadsheets released by the CBC did not, unfortunately, include any data on gun crimes. This week saw a spate of gun violence in Mount Dennis and Falstaff areas—violence which could easily have been in, or spilled over into, Weston. Our fears of gun crime will have to remain nebulous until the data can be gathered.
¹ It’s not easy, because the historical data are not given in rates per 100,000 but as absolute numbers per neighbourhood. This makes inter-region comparison very difficult.