Sullivan says Weston is more dangerous than it is

Mike Sullivan, our MP, spoke in the House this week about handguns and crime. He described our neighbourhood in a dramatic, violent light.  He was also entirely incorrect. He said,

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about personal security in the country, the other side seems to forget that there is far more danger to the residents in my riding from handguns than there is from terrorism. In fact, there were four funerals this summer of young men in their teens and early twenties as a result of handgun violence, all of them were from Somalia.

This is flat-out wrong. Sullivan is almost certainly referring to the murders of four Somalian men in Jamestown this summer, a troubled neighbourhood in Etobicoke. Jamestown is not in our riding; it is in Etobicoke North, held by Kirsty Duncan, a Liberal.

In fact, there has not been a single murder in Weston so far this year. In 12 Division, there have been two murders; one occurred after a soccer game at Eglinton flats—a 40-something man was murdered, likely by his brother, after a soccer game. This is hardly the stuff of nightmares.

Weston has a reputation problem. People—including many readers and friends—incorrectly think that Weston is dangerous. It is not.  We have too many muggings, yes, but we have very few other crimes. Murders are down by half from last year. Rapes and common assaults are flat. Toronto’s crime rate is lower than almost any other city in North America.

Comments such as Mr Sullivan’s do not help Weston’s reputation. They harm it. They make things worse: good people want to stay away from bad neighbourhoods—and that makes bad neighbourhoods bad. Reputation begets crime, which begets reputation.

I asked Sullivan for a comment; Paul Ferreira, his special assistant, got back to me and said that Mr Sullivan has been quite sick with a cold this week and that he took part in the debate anyway because he felt it to be important.

Addendum

Mr Sullivan called me to discuss this post. He said,

“I didn’t mean to infer that there were four funerals in the riding. I’m sorry that you took it that way, and I can see how you would. My point is that I’m trying to hold this government to account for the proliferation of handguns…. My point in raising these issues is not to say ‘we’re bad; don’t come here’; my point is to say, ‘we need help’—and more help that we’re getting.”

On that, we entirely agree.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

9 thoughts on “Sullivan says Weston is more dangerous than it is”

  1. Your obsession with the Junction is kind of ridiculous. Don’t neglect the fact that York South-Weston is a disaster.

    Perhaps Mike should been more eloquent.

  2. Whats with the hot-on for the Junction? I was down there a few weeks ago and the shops were all busy. When I walk along Weston Rd it really isn’t busy, nor is there much to shop at. I have to agree, there is plenty of crime in Weston which gives us little reason to compare ourselves to the Junction.

  3. this article is spot on. I know it’s probably fun for a journalist to write stories about surviving in the ‘hood of Weston Mt. Dennis, like the Toronto Star and CBC have recently done, making it seem like we all stepped out of an episode of ‘the Wire’ but the reality is much more nuanced.

  4. My household would much rather live in the Junction. In fact, we know plenty of people that share the same desire. Not only do the streets there offer more useful shops, food, drinks, etc., they also feel considerably safer than those surrounding Weston. Who the heck wants to go for a leisurely walk down Jane or Weston? Come on people, you shouldn’t have to feel uptight as you shop for a dead goat, hair extensions, or making a bank withdrawal.

    With dreams of relaxing walks to nearby coffee shops, stores, restaurants and pubs, this is one household that will eventually emigrate from Weston.

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