Update on community crime meeting

Westonian Lindsay Cahill has a report from the community crime meeting held this past Wednesday. Thank you, Lindsay!

The gymnasium at Weston Memorial PS was standing-room only Wednesday evening for the community meeting organized by City Councillor Nunziata. Councillor Nunziata started the meeting on a positive note, discussing possible commercial developments in Weston village including interest from Loblaws at 1966 Weston Road (the current home of Greenland Farm Supermarket) and a community rec centre in the old Scotiabank building.

With the help of officers from the Toronto Police Service (TPS) 12 Division, the meeting quickly turned to safety concerns in Weston. Staff Sgt. Lesley Hildred provided statistics of the types of crimes reported in Weston since January and information about some of the arrests. Much of the crime in the area was termed “nuisance crime” (i.e. cars being broken into, vandalism). Some details were provided about the recent armed robbery at Olympic Variety on King St and the fatal stabbing in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart. At this point, residents began to share their specific concerns about the safety of the area. In response, it was made clear that the TPS is understaffed due to budgetary constraints: residents were very surprised to hear that 12 Division has only seven officers and two traffic officers on duty during one shift. The officers at the meeting emphasized that it is important to call in all crimes to either 911 or 416-808-2222 (the non-emergency line) so that the statistics will show Weston requires additional officers. In addition, Councillor Nunziata pledged to take this issue to City Council and the Mayor and requested our support by attending Council budget meetings (see her website for future information).

There was a continued call from the crowd for a strategy and suggestions for crime prevention.  Some of the options discussed included CCTV (provided by residents or subsidized by the government), a committee of Weston residents who liaise with the TPS and Councillor Nunziata, a possible role for auxiliary police, use of off-duty police officers, and how we as a community can try to decrease crime (i.e. collecting mail and garbage from neighbour’s homes if they are away).

In the final minutes, a petition was collected by Councillor Nunziata’s team for increased police presence in the area. Unfortunately, the meeting came to an abrupt end due to time constraints, with many questions unanswered.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

10 thoughts on “Update on community crime meeting”

  1. I am appalled I have grown up in this area and raised both my kids here.I was on my front lawn of my building in the summer with my dogs at 11:30 at night a group of kids poured out of my building.Minutes later two cars pulled in to our driveway hooded guys got out started chasing the young people.Ran into the lobby pulled out a gun,fired two shots then tried to run back to the car smashing the front door on their way out and sped off into the night.I’m quite sure they were never caught.Still can’t believe this happened I have lived in this building 20 years.Wish I could move away to a small town somewhere.Now 60,000 dollars later we finally have security system cameras everywhere but it took that to get that done.But now my my rent is jacked up again to cover it.If we had a larger police force or better yet a better government not to let these pieces of shit in here and into what was a nice area once.Rant over but I’m sure nothing will still get done.

  2. Nicely done, Lindsay.
    I do believe you got it – an accurate, fair & well balanced report.

    Plus, as noted by representatives from 12 Division, the vast majority of violent crimes are gang related. One group challenged by another, usually drug culture related.

    It’s big business.

    Nevertheless, in addition, I’d like to add a few observations, in view of the fact that this meeting was titled: “Weston Community Safety Meeting”.

    I would have thought and hoped that this gathering would have been of interest to most, if not all caring & responsible members of the Weston community – which these days, is quite obviously a multi-ethnic, multi-racial community.

    But sadly, a quick look around the room and it was pretty plain to see that this meeting was being attended by an almost exclusively white demographic from the area.

    The balance was off.

    Now, make no mistake, there were a view black folks in attendance, perhaps a handful. And, one young black woman asked about additional data regarding crime in the city and how it compares to our area.

    But, given Weston of today, you would have expected much better representation from a concerned black community as well, if for no other reason than Mr. Hussain, a Somali Canadian is our MP on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa.

    He may have won the riding because of Mr. Trudeau’s very charismatic surge, but not exclusively so. Clearly, may folks in the area could relate to him quite easily, for better or for worse and gave him the vote.

    However, unfortunately on Wednesday night our MP was (again) absent, from another important meeting, in this case a “Community Safety” meeting.

    Madam Nunziata and Albanese were, and always seem to be at community meetings, for that matter.

    Now, having said all that, what I found especially interesting after many in the crowd loudly supported an outcry & demand for a better crime fighting strategy (or else it may cost political jobs), it seemed like the vast majority of attendee complaints were about car break-ins, as related by many frustrated folks who weren’t evidently served well enough or quickly enough by Toronto Police Services.

    To be sure, a crime most important to the one violated.

    But nevertheless, a violation that’s considered to be a “nuisance crime” by TPS’s reps from 12 Division.

    And, as the Sargent in attendance noted, gone are the days where, “a good cop is a nosey cop”.

    So, with “nuisance” crimes the best advice he and his colleagues could offer was in the form of encouragement, by being more vigilant when it comes to property crimes.

    And then, be more persistent when reporting a violation. It’s the only way that the data will show there to be serious problems brewing in a community. It can affect change.

    For me, the most poignant and scarey account of the night came from a very timid, middle aged black woman who told how her daughter narrowly and fearfully escaped an attempted home envasion, moments after arriving home, parking her car and quickly entering her home on Rosemount Ave.

    The creep had one foot in the door, but she managed to push him out.

    She wasn’t harmed.

    But, it was a very close call.

    Consequently, the woman and her Mom were so shaken that they were too frightened to call it in because these creeps hung around in their cars in the commercial/industrial parking area across from their home where there’s much loitering, to say the least.

    Fearing backlash is a normal reaction for anyone.

    But, with this crime, the Sargent reacted quite properly and professionally, asking to speak with her after the meeting.

    I hope this family will soon rest a little easier with that reported. And, hopefully it’ll never happen again.

    This shouldn’t happen anywhere, to anyone.

    As for the other expressed concerns that night, hopefully those folks will employ better security methods & strategies when it comes to protecting their vehicles & homes.

    It can be done, efficiently & reasonably.

    Finally, when it comes to safety in general, heads up!

    And, whether you like your neighbour or not – be a caring person.
    It’ll improve your karma.

    Be watchful, without being intrusive.
    It’ll serve you & everyone else in the community, very nicely.

    Good luck, Weston.

  3. “Nothing to fear but fear itself.” I think of that line when seeing reaction to crime in Weston. The reality is that bad stuff happens just about everywhere. The reality is also that we live in a community that is safe and where crime is down.

    So how do we make it even safer for everyone that calls Weston home? Certainly not with more police — that’s the easy (and very costly) way.

    Consider a few options: Go for evening walks in the neighbourhood; patronize local businesses and get to know the shop owners; speak with your neighbours, especially those who may look different than you; don’t be afraid to engage with young people who hang out in local parks. If everyone spends more time in the neighbourhood, connecting and interacting, everyone benefits. That’s the best way to build a truly safer and healthier neighbourhood for us all. And to subside the reactionary fear that seems to engulf Weston anytime something bad happens.

    1. With more people out and about, going for walks and being aware of others, the feeling of safety increases. We are all responsible for this.
      Thanks, Paul, and thanks Lindsey for the great report.

      1. The issue isn’t foot traffic….the issue is the crap that has been built along Weston Rd, and the crap it attracts….not sure why anyone thinks adding more affordable housing will better the area…build crap you get crap.
        Nunziata has talked about YMCA coming for years, yet nothing….now all of a sudden Loblaws is interested in Weston – what a joke…the banks are leaving, more stores are closing, residents (on both side of the tracks) avoid Weston Rd…..please…..make the area look better, clean up the apartments (hold landlords accountable…), better the schools (merge them build new ones) so much that could be done…..

    2. Paul – tell me a business I should visit on Weston Rd (besides P&M and Shoppers…), lots of people walk the neighbourhood – but do you want to walk around at 4am in the morning so you can catch the druggie looking for unlock cars so he can steal the pennies in the cup holder??? Be my guest.

      1. Hi “truthteller” … I find your posts exceedingly negative, but since you asked about local businesses, I’ll reply. (Sorry I didn’t do it sooner — just saw your reply this morning).

        Anyhow here’s 3 of my personal small biz faves on Weston Rd:

        1) WIff Restaurant — the best, and I mean best, Somali samosas in Toronto. You’ll find Asha, the owner, at the Farmers’ Market in the summer. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix throughout the year!

        2) Ausef Foods — this place has awesome dried fruits and nuts and high quality honey from pretty much everywhere. And the owner is a super nice guy.

        3) Squibb’s Stationers — no fave Weston biz list would be complete without Suri and Mike’s great shop. Get unique Christmas gifts there. And you’d be supporting terrific biz owners who always support their community in whatever way they can.

        Since I’ve done my bit here, I encourage all other WestonWeb readers/lurkers to follow suit share their top three local businesses

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