Police ask for help at town hall meeting
The fourth and final town hall meeting for 55 Division Police was held on Nov. 27 at the Gerrard-Ashdale Library. Although not as crowded as a March meeting at Community Centre 55 for the most easterly zone, those in attendance were no less interested in finding out the latest crime stats for both the Division and their own Zone 3, which runs roughly from Coxwell to Woodbine, from the Danforth south; north of the rail line, the zone expands to include the area from Greenwood to Main Street.
Detective Sergeant Warren Wilson laid out the statistics for the intimate crowd, noting that the stats are, of course, based only on crime that is actually reported to police – a theme revisited often over the course of the evening.
“Overall, things are going really well,” he said, noting that almost all major crimes are on the decline.
Jumping right into the big crimes, the division has seen three homicides this year, two within the Beach Metro News coverage area. A shooting death in September in an apartment building at Main Street and Kingston Road has resulted in two arrests, while two deaths last month near Woodbine and Gerrard have been deemed a murder/suicide.
Property crime is by far the most common crime in the division, and the only real increase in Zone 3 is in break and enters, particularly around Woodbine near the rail line north of Gerrard.
“That's somewhat concerning,” said Wilson. “We have directed extra resources into that area.”
On the positive side, thefts from vehicles were down a bit, and robberies were down a significant 38 per cent. Wilson believes extra resources deployed to problem areas, particularly parks during the summer months, were part of the reason for that decrease.
“We have a whole plan that we roll out, from the start of the summer all the way through to Labour Day,” he said.
Staff Sergeant Adrianne Johnstone, who manages the division's Community Response Unit among other duties, returned to the fact that much crime, and even suspicious activity, goes unreported, despite the fact that knowing about those incidents helps the division's crime analyst figure out where special attention is needed.
“The piece of the puzzle that's missing is the public,” said Johnstone. “If we don't know things are happening, we can't properly respond. We don't consider any reported crime as a waste of time to us.”