Member of Parliament Mike Sullivan is fed up with phone thefts in his riding and held a press conference today outside Chaminade College School whose students have been particularly targeted. Eleven have been robbed of their phones on the way to or from school since September 2011. Part of the problem says Sullivan is that students are easily identified by their uniforms and so might be considered to be relatively well off.
Sullivan would like to initiate a private member’s bill but says that this involves waiting to be recognized by the Speaker in the House of Commons. “My motion might be presented late next year if my turn comes up,” he said. Instead Sullivan hopes that raising the matter and applying pressure in the form of a petition will cause the CRTC to act before then.
“Under Section 24 of the Broadcast act, the CRTC can order phone companies to refuse to register stolen phones and work together to share information on a stolen phone database,” says Sullivan. He addresses privacy issues, by saying that only the serial number of a stolen phone needs to be listed. Sullivan claims this will save money as large amounts of police time are taken up by phone thefts.
85% of street crime in 12 Division involves phone theft according to Toronto Police Staff Sergeant Daryle Garry and it ties up a large amount of police resources. Garry was accompanied by officer Cam Forrest. “We have blanketed the area with uniform and plain-clothes officers, but it’s hard to catch thieves in the act,” he says. Thieves are often brazen as stolen phones can be re-registered and so are easily ‘fenced’. Garry cited one case of a man involved in a car accident on Trethewey who began phoning for assistance. A passer-by offered to use the man’s phone to call for help but ran off with it when it was handed to him.
Chaminade student Alexander Colle says that the thefts have had a large negative effect upon students. This was echoed by fellow student Alex Escobar who plans to raise the matter with the Catholic Students’ Association and circulate Sullivan’s petition.
Sullivan will be out this summer promoting the database and will have the support of Chaminade College students in collecting as many signatures as possible before the opening of Parliament in the fall. You can get a copy of the petition online here.