The province has all-but cancelled funding to the TAVIS program that sent police to troubled areas in the wake of a violent crime spree. The TAVIS program brought cops to Weston for the three summers of 2011–2013.
TAVIS had benefits. Cops, especially cops on bikes, were more visible. They participated in community outreach and had community events. They gave a sense that people cared and were trying to put a stop to bloodshed and gunplay that seemed rampant.
But there was darkness. TAVIS police were zealous. They stopped minorities, especially young black men, at a disproportionate rate, leading to antipathy. “Engagement” became zealous enforcement and may have treaded too close to harassment.
Now, the $5 million dollar program is being cut in half, and eventually to zero. The program will be replaced, though it is not clear with what.
On April 27 (after we thought Weston had enjoyed a crime-free week), Police released a couple of crime bulletins requesting the public’s assistance in tracking down a man wanted in connection with an attempted kidnapping on Thursday, April 25 around 1 p.m. near 2079 Lawrence Avenue West. Two men allegedly attempted to force a third into a vehicle, assaulting him in the process. A brave passer-by shouted at the men and the suspects drove off without the victim. Police have identified one of the men as Eric Coplin−Duran, 18 who is considered dangerous. The police report can be found here.
This begs the question of whether the new security cameras provided any information regarding this incident as Weston and Lawrence are quite close by and the car, on the south side of Lawrence, would have therefore travelled east through the intersection. Apart from signs informing people of their presence, no actual cameras can be seen (at least by your correspondent after gamely squinting on several occasions). Perhaps they are so tiny that they aren’t visible. Have readers managed to spot any of the cameras?
A second bulletin released the same day reported an exchange of gunfire in the hallway of 1855 Jane Street. One of the alleged shooters by the name of Adrian Scott is being sought along with a second man.
If you or one of your charges is looking for a summer job, the Toronto Police are hiring 150 youth between 15 and 18 years old for their Youth In Policing Initiative.
To apply, you need to be a student, live in Weston–Mount Dennis (or another priority area), be eligible to work legally in Canada, and not have any pending legal charges.
The police say,
The aim of the Youth in Policing Initiative is to promote youth participation in and exposure to the work environment through diverse, educational, and productive work assignments.
This program also enhances the link between the police and the neighbourhoods we serve. This initiative gives young people an opportunity to develop job skills while fostering positive partnerships with the Toronto Police Service.
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.
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.
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.