Muggings? – You be the judge

Over the past weeks, five groups of people have been threatened and sometimes robbed. Though nobody has been hurt, this is a sinister crime.

In all cases, the crime and the criminals appear to be the same. A group of three young men approach young people on their way home from Chaminade school, and threaten them, sometimes into giving up their phones and property. The first time, two young people were threatened, and the would-be muggers tried to steal the phones and jewelry of the teenage victims, who would not file police reports—perhaps because they were afraid of repurcussions. A week later, two more men were mugged, this time successfully, near the same place, just on the other side of Jane. They were, like the first group, accosted by three young men. That same day, another group of young men were threatened. It happened again last week. And this week.

Five times in all, young people on their way home from Chaminade school have been threatened by a group of three young men.

The school says, sensibly, that students should travel together, on main roads, without cell phones, and without wearing the bright yellow school colours. This reminds me of the behaviour of defensive herds under threat. Caribou do the same thing, and they leave the weak, the friendless, and the young to be picked off by the wolves.

And that tells us who the thugs are doing the muggings: predators.

My esteemed colleague, Roy, says that these are not muggings. I agree. Muggings are random. This is not random. Chaminade students seem to be singularly vulnerable and picked on by this small gang of thugs.This is not mugging; it is much more alarming.

I worry how this will end. I know how I would have dealt with a similar threat in high school, when I was unpopular, proud, myopic, and cocksure. Anyone mugging me would have been sorry they had—and I would have been sorry that I had made them so, though I can only see that now.

Your humble correspondent is usually strict about not reporting things outside of Weston; this time, we have made an exception, because it is important for local politics. Mike Sullivan has a private member’s bill before the House that would not stop this crime, but would make it less profitable by making stolen cell phones useless. It is an uncommonly sensible, inexpensive, and well-designed bill—just the kind that should get the support of all parties, and all residents.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

5 thoughts on “Muggings? – You be the judge”

  1. Must admit, at my high school, back in the stone age, the three known predators would have to be either been armed or members of a biker gang. Are Cheminade students crossing gang territory?

  2. At this point, there should be a good description of the 3 perpetrators. Not being hardened criminals, it’s unlikely they’ll change their looks, making them easier to spot. Descriptions should be provided to Chaminade staff, discussed with students, and posted on the inside of the school doors a reminder.

    Students leaving school should prep their phones so they are ready to dial 911 should they see the 3 perps or witness an incident. Knowing the timeframes when incidents occur, Police should step up patrols helping to both deter and respond quickly to any incident.

    Fast action is the key to catching these degenerates.

  3. Somewhere in the mists of time, I remember Joe D. , a student at my elementary school, being accosted by a gang of four and having to hand over his milk money. As Joe was small and the gang of four large, a threat of violence was implied and therefore; according to the dictionary definition constituted a “mugging”. “The elements of the crime of robbery include the use of force or intimidation.” The gang didn’t stop at Joe, over several months various students were waylaid and relieved of various amounts of cash. Unlike the Weston gang, the gang of four never returned anything. A silence of fear protected them until a few of the victims squealed to their teachers, parents were called and the gang of four received a full year of detentions and no recess for months.

    What’s my point:
    First: Chaminade students must be taught that the only way to stop being a victim is to step forward and be brave enough to identify your assailant.
    Second: thefts with and without the implied use of violence have been a constant in the school years.
    Third: Five incidents of petty crime, some half-hearted do not constitute a crime wave. Fourth: No one stood up in parliament and cited my old alma mater as an indicator of increased violence in Toronto’s west end.

    Unfortunately a pernicious culture of unjustified fear seems to be gaining ground in Toronto and makes many feel they are more at risk then they actually are. This leads to feelings of vulnerability and helplessness. It also causes some parts of the city to be labelled as “dangerous”. I may be wrong but a perusal of crime statistics seems to indicate that Weston is no more crime ridden than the rest of this city.

    But if, I am wrong, and Weston is truly dangerous place, the best way to improve it would be to demand that police provide a constant presence in the area with a store front office and daily foot patrols. New York City improved some of its most dangerous areas when police officers were forced out of their cars and onto the beat. It would also be good for officers health.

    Certainly, passing a private member’s bill would do nothing to empower Chaminade students or improve Weston. So let’s demand that police provide a positive presence in our community, if they developed a relationship with locals, the present gang of three, the fear and dread of Chaminade would be brought to heel in no time. Then maybe with the present day equivalent of detentions and lack of recess they could be rehabilitated.

  4. The thefts date back over the past year, these 5 events are just the latest, and expensive iphones were taken, not milk money. There was a public meeting on the topic.

  5. Hey, this was milk money in 1960s dollars, in today’s currency I see your expensive phone and raise you an iPod. There was a public meeting on the topic precisely because of the culture of fear being engendered by overreaction.

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