TAVIS successes

The Toronto Police TAVIS initiative, which is intended to reduce violent crime in Toronto and Weston, has netted a few crooks over the summer. In the somewhat-difficult-to-find newsletters, the police list six arrests clearly within Weston, most of them for fairly minor offenses. Other arrests were made, but it is not always possible to tell where.

Forthwith:

A male was observed near 2007 Lawrence Avenue West, near an industrial store area. The suspect was seated beside an open garage door smoking a marihuana joint. An investigation was commenced and the male discovered to be on two bails and was breaching conditions. The male, a 32-year old, was subsequently arrested and charged.

A 19-year old male was investigated for a Highway Traffic Act offence near 1901 Weston Road. While speaking with police, the suspect’s cell phone was in his pocket and was audible to the officers. It was found through investigation the suspect was on probation and one of his conditions was not to possess a cell phone. The suspect was placed under arrest.

A 16-year old male was investigated for trespassing on CN Rail property. Further investigation by police revealed the suspect was on probation with conditions not to posses any weapons defined by the criminal code. The suspect readily admitted he was in possession of a pocket knife. He was subsequently arrested and charged with failing to comply with the terms of his youth probation and carrying a prohibited weapon.

A male was observed by officers passed out near Weston Road and Wright Avenue. Investigation revealed that the 32-year old male was on house arrest and was subsequently placed under arrest. Further investigation revealed that he had just been involved in a violent domestic assault. The suspect threw his common-law wife into the bathtub where she struck her head and lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness he held a kitchen knife to her throat and threatened her life.

A 34-year old male was investigated by [TAVIS] officers in a laneway south of Queens Drive. During the course of their investigation, the suspect verbally identified himself by 4 different names, with varying dates of birth. As a result the suspect was placed under arrest for Obstruct Peace Officer. Once the his true identity was revealed, the officers discovered that he was on a recognizance for a Sexual Interference charge and was in violation of his curfew.

Officers observed a male selling goods from the trunk of his vehicle in the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue area. The officers investigated this male and found that he was in possession of suspected counterfeit clothing. This clothing included jeans, t-shirts, handbags, purses and accessories from several high end clothing manufacturers; Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry and Diesel to name a few. The suspected counterfeit clothing was seized from the male and brought to 12 Division for further investigation. An estimated retail value of all of the property seized: $80,000.

Councillor Nunziata Clarifies Her Comments

Few Weston Web articles generate the kind of response we received in the recent article ‘Nunziata Responds to Muggings’. As a result, Weston Web asked Councillor Nunziata some of the questions raised by readers.

In an exclusive interview, she clarified her comments about Chaminade College students and says her original words were the result of a ‘miscommunication’. She also acknowledged that the muggings at Weston and Lawrence were very unlikely to have originated from students at that school.

We discussed other matters such as why she will oppose future license applications for bars in Weston. Councillor Nunziata says she has no problem with applications being approved as long as there are conditions attached to ensure good behaviour; e.g. adherence to licensed hours and noise suppression. After a year these conditions would be lifted. She claims that there are too many licensed establishments along Weston Road and Jane Street already, and that some legitimately licensed establishments operate after hours too . She’s ‘had many complaints from residents.’ I asked if any licence applications ever come from deserving businesses and was told that as long as they agree to the conditions and have not caused problems in the past, they will not be refused a licence.

We returned to the topic of crime and the TAVIS initiative. I mentioned my pet peeve which is that while the TAVIS program has great potential and is a great asset to the community, officers tend to hang around in groups of three or more (let’s not call them gangs) and could cover more ground and have more contact with the community in smaller groups. Ms Nunziata replied that the grouping format was agreed to in the TAVIS meetings, as was the location of the surveillance cameras (which, perhaps, could have produced better results along Lawrence Avenue, since much of the crime seems to occur there).

Thanks to our readers for such a vigorous response.

TAVIS Barbecue Tonight, June 16, 2011.

There will be a barbecue tonight from 5 – 7 pm hosted by 12 Division TAVIS initiative officers and Councillor Frances Nunziata. This is to let the community know that an additional 32 police officers have been made available during the summer for street patrol in the Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue area. Check out the PDF version of the poster here.

Sow and Ye Shall Reap

The latest in a string of shootings is no surprise to most people in Weston. It is however a source of mild puzzlement to police and politicians. They simply don’t understand why Weston is seemingly plagued by such events. Let’s look at the facts of the situation we find ourselves in.

An exquisite combination of political bungling, poor planning and corruption permitted the building of large numbers of low income housing several decades ago. This low income housing became a magnet for immigrants seeking a new life in Canada. The village of Weston as part of the City of York was given a major challenge; how to assimilate large numbers of new Canadians and help them to become productive citizens. Unfortunately, Weston has been largely left on its own to achieve this while dealing with problems that have arisen.

The Federal Government is in charge of immigration and knows exactly the stresses placed on Weston by immigration. We need more resources, not fewer and Alan Tonks should be shouting this from the rooftops every day, instead of being satisfied with the occasional photo op and voting with his Tory friends. Lord knows, Alan Tonks is well paid for his work and will receive a pension better than most would dream of as a salary. Is he worth the money? Not in my books. One of his latest efforts is a poorly-written private member’s bill supporting electrification of urban commuter rail operations. Dear old Alan couldn’t even be bothered to check for grammatical errors in the bill! Private members’ bills rarely become law.

The surest way to help first-generation children of immigrants is through education. Schools need extra resources and the very best teachers. Perhaps Alan Tonks’ son Chris could help here. He is our public school trustee.

Laura Albanese is a Liberal MPP in the McGuinty government. As an immigrant herself she should know that Weston needs more resources. She has been an MPP since October of 2007 and seems to have achieved little in that time. Her activity in the provincial legislature comprises mainly of softball questions to Liberal ministers. She has submitted a private member’s bill in favour of electrifying the GO Train system with priority for the Georgetown corridor.

Frances Nunziata has in the past been a fighter for Weston and was instrumental in exposing corruption in the City of York. She has spearheaded some important initiatives such as moving Metrolinx towards serving the people of Weston rather than not stopping in the community. Now, she seems to be lost in the details rather than the bigger picture. Where are we in the planning of a community centre for the area? Is Weston getting value for money from its police services?

Police seem to regard Weston as a dangerous place. When a major crime has been committed we see lots of police. Between crimes we see nothing. When was the last time any of us saw a police officer on foot patrol? According to a recent John Sewell article on police in Toronto, the average police officer averages one dispatched call every 20 hours of duty. Driving around waiting for problems to happen might not be the best approach any more.

The TAVIS initiative supposedly assigns extra police officers to areas ‘experiencing an increase in violent activity’. I wonder if Weston sees any of these officers.

This latest attempted murder seems to have happened at a party or an after-hours club. These are notoriously hard to keep track of as they spring up spontaneously. That said, Weston Road is a fairly obvious place for patrols – would a large number of cars parked in an area at 4 a.m. be worth investigating? Admittedly, that would require courage and initiative but isn’t that what we pay our officers for?

Last for censure is the criminal element in Weston which seems to feel the need to carry weapons and use them when their delicate egos are threatened by an accidental brush or an ill-timed comment. Real men don’t carry guns, they find work and lose the fantasy that they are part of a gang. Real men try to better themselves in the face of adversity—they don’t choose to be a plague on society.