East York voices crime concerns

The bad news, according to Staff Inspector Debra Preston of 54 Division: break-ins are an “area of concern” in East York. The good news: Toronto is a safe city otherwise.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair met with East Yorkers at a town hall meeting organized by 54 Division and its community police liaison committee on Nov. 9. At the Royal Canadian Legion at Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive, Blair stressed that despite an overall decrease in violent crimes, any disturbance can make a neighbourhood feel unsafe. As such, Blair encouraged residents to bring up any concerns they had.
“I encourage people to talk about the things that are going on (in) their neighbourhood,” Blair said. “It’s good for all of us to be reminded that you’ve got to take care of the little things to make liveable places.”
Issues raised included park safety, vandalism, fear of gangs and car theft.
Kim Pavlovich, co-chair of the East York Collegiate parent council, challenged Blair to assign a police officer to the school. Pavlovich said that is something students and parents at her school want.
“For a year-and-a-half, we’ve been advocating for a police officer,” Pavlovich said. “What is the budget and how much more in the budget is there?”
Blair responded that the issue is not about budgets, but respecting the wishes of board trustees and school principals. Despite this, he said that putting a police officer in East York Collegiate is a possibility.
“We don’t have unlimited resources, but I believe the possibility is there,” Blair said.
Preston said that police are working on the break-in issue. She said that the division’s crime prevention officer conducts a safety audit and speaks with affected homeowners after each break-in.
“We’ve made over 190 break-and-enter related charges,” Preston said.
East Yorkers interested in receiving updates from 54 Division on issues such as local crime, missing persons and community events can sign up for TPSlinks and receive messages by phone, text message or email. To sign up, go to www.torontopolice.on.ca or contact 54 Division at 416-808-5400 and ask for the divisional TPSlinks administrator. 54 Division also has a twitter account at www.twitter.com/54division.