A year in review: Crime in Weston–not-bad news

Toronto had a lousy year for crime, but Weston looked pretty good in comparison.

As almost everyone knows, shootings and murders were way up across the city. Less well-covered were the changes in assault, auto-theft, sexual assault, break-and-enters, and large thefts. All these categories of crime saw rises. In fact, of the six categories of crime that Toronto Police track, only robberies saw a decline.

Crime indicators for Toronto

By comparison, things in Weston were good this year.  While there were dramatically more auto thefts, most categories of crime saw little increase or a decline.

Crime indicators for 12 Division

In 2018, 256 cars were stolen in 12 Division, 26% more than last year. This is pretty bad, no doubt about it.

 

Break-and-enters were down significantly from 2017. There were 200 B&Es in all of 12 Division, down 10%.

Robberies, the most common kind of street crime, and probably the crime of most concern to residents, were down very significantly. There were 15% fewer robberies than last year.

Assaults and sexual violations, however, were both up, 2% and 8% respectively.

Murders and thefts-over were also both up–but I rarely worry about these crime. While there were 50% more murders in 2018 than in 2017, that means there was one extra murder: we jumped from 2 to 3. All the alleged killers were caught. This is hardly the stuff of nightmares. Thefts-over are also an absolutely small number, so 14% jump, while relatively large, amounts to about 5 extra thefts.

 

Stories I still haven’t had time for

I try to stay on top of the goings-on, but I occasionally just drop the ball.

Here are the stories I wished I had covered in 2018.


There’s a new development coming near Church and Weston, promising three town houses and nine detached homes, with prices “starting in the $700s”.

I tried to dig up some more information, but I struck out. Readers?


Toronto’s ravines face serious threats and may be near “ecological collapse” according to a study done by a PhD student at U of T.

Over the past 40 years, there has been a severe and widespr ead
decline in native trees, wildflowers, birds, and mammals”, due, primarily, to invasive species. The Norway maple, garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, and drog-strangling vine are “now present in over 95% of the forest floor surveyed.


There’s a new bakery in town. Royal Bakery opened near Jane and Weston. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been.

Nor have I been to Nikos, the new Greek place on Jane, Bakery El Quetzal, a Guatemalan place at 2011 Lawrence, or Esquina Salvadoreña Restaurant, at 1738 Jane.

I hate myself.


The Weston Public Library is now open Sundays 1:30 to 5:00.


I don’t know what is up at the Church Street site of the Humber River Hospital. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything, and I really need to look into it.


And, finally, “700 feet will be kept warm and dry” this winter, thanks to the good people at 12 Division and Heat Holder Socks.

TORONTO RAVINES STUDY: 1977 – 2017

Ron Taverner back on the job with TPS

After a storm of controversy, Ron Taverner has rescinded his resignation from the Toronto Police Service and is back on the job as north west district commander (Divisions 12, 23 and 31) that he left on Friday. On Saturday, Mr Taverner asked that his appointment as OPP Commissioner be put on hold pending the results of an inquiry (requested by the NDP) by the Integrity Commissioner.

Two days after the OPP Commissioner’s job was posted, the requirements (deputy police chief or higher) were lowered thus allowing Superintendent Taverner to apply and his selection, according to the Ontario Newsroom site, was the, “unanimous recommendation of a selection committee comprised exclusively of members of the Ontario Public Service and supported by Odgers Berndtson, an executive search firm.”. Apparently 23 out of the 27 candidates for the job met the original requirements so lowering them was probably not merited on the basis of a shortage of candidates.

Acting OPP Commissioner (and fellow candidate for the job) Brad Blair cried foul on Taverner’s appointment and has since been demoted.

Many pundits have claimed that the fix was in and that Taverner’s friendship with Premier Ford was the reason for his appointment. Superintendent Taverner may well have been the best candidate to lead the OPP. Unfortunately, perceptions of the Premier’s large thumb on the scale have tainted his appointment and there is likely no going back regardless of the Integrity Commissioner’s report.

Council votes for pot shops

City Hall had to make some tough decisions this week, among them what to do about marijuana legalization. Council voted to allow regulated marijuana retailers, and to ask the province for the power to zone the stores.

Had Toronto voted to stay pot-free, we would have lost out on provincial money for police and bylaw enforcement.

Frances Nunziata got into some hot water for clumsily referring to the store in Weston that advertises it donates a portion of its proceeds to Black Lives Matter. Some thought that this was uncalled-for.

Vulnerable road users supported at City Hall

City Council voted this week to ask the province to pass the vulnerable road users bill, which is now in first reading.

The bill would increase punishments for drivers who hurt or kill pedestrians, cyclists, road-workers, and emergency responders. Drivers would be put on probation, be forced to attend court (where they could hear victim-impact statements) and do community service.

The bill is supported by the family of Gary Sims, who was killed in Mount Dennis by a driver making a right turn into a driveway. The driver received a $500 fine.

 

Hussen is well known, but not well liked

Ahmed Hussen, our MP, is well known but not well liked, according to a survey by Angus Reid.

Angus Reid asked those voters who could identify the ministers whether they were doing a good job or a bad job–thereby screening out the less informed.¹ They subtracted the bads from the goods, getting ratings between -36 (Amarjeet Sohi) and +20 (Chrystia Freeland).

From Angus Reid

Among the ten most-recognizable ministers, Hussen came in last. Liberal voters gave him a +18 rating, but 61% of non-Liberals think he is doing a bad job.

From Angus Reid

Hussen is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, and likely suffered because he has a tough portfolio. As Angus Reid notes,

This was a year when Canadians voiced significant concern about immigration and asylum claims, with many saying immigration levels were too high, and that the surge of irregular border crossings was reaching crisis levels.


¹ Like me. Can you name the Ministers of Democratic Institutions and Public Services, Procurement and Accessibility?