Meeting Minutes – Toronto Police Service Town Hall – November 12

Crime Prevention

Meeting Minutes – Toronto Police Service Town Hall – November 12

Town Hall – 51 Division Police Services
November 12, 2012

Officers from 51 Division Police Services hosted a town hall meeting with the residents of Cabbagetown and surrounding neighbourhoods; the objectives were to share information about recent serious crimes, share crime statistics, and provide information about ways to communicate with Toronto Police Services.

Several officers were in attendance, including:
• Superintendent John Tanouye
• Gary Meissner
• Greg McLean (Homicide detective)
• Dave Roberts
• Mark Kennedy (crime analyst)
• Staff Sgt John Spanton

Approximately 250 people were in attendance.

Overview of Murder Investigation:
The police investigation into the murder of Nighisti Semret is ongoing; police have not made an arrest in this case and are asking the public to review the videos of the suspect in the moments before and after the murder and call 808-TIPS should they have any observations or information to share.
Police officers will be at the intersection of Winchester and Ontario Sts to receive tips about the investigation into Nighisti’s murder. Police Services have been available at this site for 24 hrs a day for several weeks and, beginning this week, will reduce availability to 7 – 9am and 3 – 5pm.
Police acknowledge that the idea of a random attack is frightening. At this time, there is no evidence to confirm whether the attack was intended and are therefore suggesting that the attack may have been random. Police do not yet understand the motivation for this crime and are continuing their investigation.
Mark Kennedy (crime analyst) provided a presentation about crime in Cabbagetown and some tips to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

Overview of safety in community
Criminal triangle
1. Motivated offender
2. Lack of guardianship
3. Opportunity/ target

Officer Kennedy shared numerous examples and different ways to think about the crime triangle; we all know these things however we can easily forget these simple things in our day to day. Trust your instincts. Be confident; walk with confidence. Be aware. Stay alert and cognizant of surroundings. Pet owners and others are encouraged to walk in groups and observe surroundings.
Tips: If feel like you are being followed, turn around and loudly ask person if they are following you – get the attention of others. Yelling “Fire” is a very good default.
Tip: Plan your route –different routes may be needed at different times of day. A good route in one that is well lit, where you can be seen and heard by others, and has safety zones where you get help (gas stations, restaurants, etc)

Questions from Audience
Question: While facts and minutiae about the murder investigation are important, the subculture of drug activity in our neighbourhood needs to be addressed.
Police: Agree. Police are aware that social issues, drug issues and that the related crime is problematic for Cabbagetown. Fact: there are approximately 5,000 homeless beds in the division (largest in city). Drug squads and TAVIS are always in 51 Division. Police services works with city agencies, social and community agencies, and residents to address ongoing complex problems.
Question: How do police inform the community about attacks or serious crime (purse snatching, etc). What is role of police force in informing the public of criminal activity?
Police: Police investigate all aspects of crime in a neighbourhood – they can’t assume that some crimes are related to others. For homicides and other violent crimes, police communicate via news media, public meetings, etc. There are a number of ways that individuals and communities can learn about crime statistics.

Toronto Police Services Website
Toronto Police Service website provides news releases, crime statistics, community safety and information about Toronto Police services.

TPS links – Toronto Police Services Community Automated Notification System
TPS Links is an automated notification system that delivers vital information to residents and business owners within the City of Toronto. Anyone can register for this service.

Community Resident Associations
Local resident associations often post important information on their websites and/or distribute information via mailing lists.
Cabbagetown Residents Association

Cabbagetown South Residents Association

Question: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a proactive crime prevention approach. Residents of Cabbagetown have been reporting criminal and/or suspect activity to police for a while now; surely, hot spots have been identified. Will the Community Response Unit with 51 Division work with the community to remove or weaken these hotspots? The community is happy to be proactive and are looking for action from police to work in partnership with the community.
Police: Yes, absolutely. Police often work with community groups in this regard. Police engage in a community ‘walk-through’, conduct an audit, and work with residents as well as city agencies (parks, forestry, planning, transportation), to identify and implement solutions. For example, police will do a CPTED walk-through and audit at the invitation of a community groups and will work with them to make recommendations to City (e.g., lighting, bushes/ laneways, traffic redirect, etc).

Question: What are the police doing with respect to police patrols, foot patrols etc in Cabbagetown? Until very recently, residents have seen inconsistent police presence.
Police: Drug squad and undercover officers are often in the neighbourhood. Increased police presence in certain areas can result in shifting or spreading of activity to a different place. Police are aware of this and try to patrol and view the neighbourhood as a whole. They will direct their patrols to certain areas at certain times of the day based on calls and information from the community.

There are numerous ways to contact Police Services with 51 Division.
Phone numbers:
51 Division General 416-808-5100
51 Division Community Response Unit (CRU) 416-808-5152
Call this number for on-going, non-urgent issues that can be followed up.

51 Division Non Emergency 416-808-2222
Call this number for issues that are ongoing/ happening right now

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