Superintendent Mark Saunders: Crime is down.

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:

Politicians:

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.

Police:

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.

Other Stuff:

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.

 

3 thoughts on “Superintendent Mark Saunders: Crime is down.”

  1. I attended this meeting and was glad to hear that police are doing their best to fight crime. Unfortunately they cannot be everywhere at all times. What was disappointing was Nunziata behaviour and clear polticial ploy to downplay Mile Sullivan who was not in attendance to defend himself. Nunziata please do something while in office to better the community, as you have clearly failed in this category.

  2. I was not able to attend this meeting and have some additional comments. I am thrilled that we are now completely in 12 Division. As a business owner, resident and former BIA executive, I know how difficult having 2 divisions was in handling our issues. In fact, many of us said repeatedly to 31 Division that our community north of Lawrence was ignored with respect to proactive instead of reactive policing. And we did notice a difference in crime level on Weston Road and the number of ‘undesirables’ walking around after the TAVIS initiative was in place. But we are now in our second year of realignment and crime is escalating again.

    On Monday, June 25th at approximately 3am, our store was broken into. We have an alarm system, cameras that work both day and night in the store and bars on the windows upstairs. You cannot even access where the break-in was without making a major effort to get in. But it didn’t stop the thieves from being able to complete their job and cause us 2 days of headaches not to mention costs that we cannot afford. I am not blaming the police for this situation. What I am saying is that we have a lot of nooks and crannies in our community that need to be under surveillance during the wee hours of the morning when we cannot be there. It is not enough to drive through on the main streets – we need them going in back alleys, public and private, with flashlights looking for those who are looking to break in. If the thieves know they are being watched, maybe they will think twice about their activities. And I think the business owners would feel a lot better if we knew that all the efforts many of us put in to making our properties safe and sound were being backed up in those wee hours.

    Our community might not be the worst for crime but we certainly have it and when it does become personal, like in our case, it’s a frustrating exercise in dealing with the aftermath: calling police, giving statements, getting the forensics done, going through video for evidence and then repairing the damage. And when you cannot get a hold of the officers working on your case, then it becomes doubly frustrating. And feeling like you are ‘bothering’ the officers because you want to give them more information, is really demoralizing.

    We have become a dumping ground for people who are needing far more support than what we have up here. We have people who have no problem panhandling (some aggressively) and clearly for drugs. Over and over again. Not to mention the hookers, etc. The ‘trap and release’ program that is currently in place is a joke and the police as well as the public know it full well. If there are no repercussions to criminal activity, then we just keep repeating the cycle. Watching the comings and goings from the drop-in across the street is too frustrating for words. All I can say is the ‘broken window theory’ used in NYC would do very well in this community. After 85 years of being on Main Street, the last 32 years in our family, I can honestly say the last 8 years have been probably the worst for crime and negative energy. But thankfully we only have 1 division to work with instead of 2.

  3. Suri, so sorry to hear of your break-in. In Weston (as in Toronto generally) the police focus seems to be on reaction rather than prevention; with a rapid response in cruisers preferred to foot and bicycle patrolling. Viewing the streets from a car instead of forming a relationship with residents and business owners. The only deviations to this approach seem to require an acronym and outside money. We need to keep up the pressure for a more nuanced and intelligent approach to policing.

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