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.