Despite sweltering heat, a large crowd attended Councillor Frances Nunziata‘s June 20 meeting to address crime and specifically muggings in the area. On hand were Superintendent Mark Saunders, Inspector Scott Gilbert, Sergeants Daryle Gerry and Steven Lorriman. Among other notables in attendance were MPP Laura Albanese, Paul Ferreira (for MP Mike Sullivan), Frontlines Director Kristy Opoku and Weston Business Improvement Area Chair, Masum Hossain.
In the interest of brevity, here is a paraphrasing of the highlights:
TAVIS was successful last year but moves elsewhere (31 & 23 Divisions) this summer. Video surveillance promised for last year but not delivered may be installed at Weston and Lawrence, Jane and Lawrence and in the laneway by Hickory Tree. The shots that hit the apartments on Hickory Tree Road were fired by a patron leaving a booze can. These activities are a problem but should be reduced by passage of Laura Albanese’s bill which will add teeth to liquor licence enforcement and increase penalties for serving liquor in unlicensed premises. Mike Sullivan will be introducing a motion in Parliament and raising public awareness about the need for a stolen phone registry. He is holding a press conference early next week.
The Toronto Police Service is one of the best in the world with outsiders coming to Toronto for advice on policing. Re-aligning 31 and 12 divisions has been a success. There has been a reduction in violent crime in 12 Division. Street robberies have been an issue but are not confined to the area. Changing the law (so that stolen phones cannot be re-used) will help. A stolen phone is worth up to $300 because it can be re-activated (without risk). Bell is the only major phone company that checks phones against a stolen phone registry.
Extra officers have been assigned to the area and have been advising students in schools on how to deal with suspicious individuals. The Chaminade High School students knew they were being followed but didn’t call police. Bicycles are good for making contact with the community but are not good for rapid responses. We are not facing a rash of robberies – four, not five as previously stated. Only 3 or 4 people are involved, two of whom have been arrested before. One has been caught based on video evidence. Call police whenever you suspect a crime is being committed. Don’t feel you’re wasting police time if you’re calling with good intentions.
Apparently it took 8 years for 12 and 31 Division boundary changes to be implemented.
Police on bicycles are not allowed to go through a red light in an emergency.
Policing levels are determined to some extent by the volume of calls received from the public.
It’s dismaying for the public to see Councillor Nunziata attempting to score points on Mike Sullivan by saying several times that she’s pleased the MP ‘has followed our lead on this’ (cellphone legislation). Mr Sullivan is not entirely blameless either, having publicly issued similar remarks. Governing Canada requires navigating through a complicated mess of overlapping jurisdictions. We need politicians at every level to work together to make Weston achieve its awesome potential. Nobody cares who has an idea; ideas are cheap. Successful politicians and community leaders implement good ideas through hard work and by making everyone part of the process.