Des Ryan, a retired police officer, is a CRA board director and volunteer security lead.
Can you believe that it’s the end of June already? Wow.
I’d like to share a couple of important updates with you.
Like myself, many of you are likely wondering what happened at St. Martin’s Catholic School on May 29. There were numerous stories swirling about, but here is what actually happened as per the police report. Two individuals were involved in a robbery that day and a firearm was alleged to have been used. The investigation led to St. Martin’s, where two 18-year-old youths were arrested, along with a third youth. There was, thankfully, no gun. One of the young men arrested had a knife tucked into his waist that had been mistaken for a gun by one of the original callers.
I have been in communication with the unit commander of 51 Division regarding the gun violence we are experiencing in and near our neighbourhood.
Superintendent Tony Riviere advised that, as of June 8, there had been 17 reported incidents of shots being fired within 51 Division (Bloor/Yonge/Lake Ontario/Don River). Of those 17 incidents, none of them were within our catchment area specifically, but nine occurred within the area bordered by Gerrard/River/Shuter/Parliament (Regent Park). Of these incidents, some resulted in injury, while many did not. Our police division is joining with other downtown divisions to launch for Project Red Brick, which aims to combat gun violence and has already resulted in the arrest of eight individuals, four on June 12 and another four on June 15, for gun- and drug-related offences.
“There is definitely an increased level of gun violence as compared to last year,” Riviere told CBC News. “It’s of concern to us.”
On June 18, Councillor Lucy Troisi invited me to a meeting of a working group that included herself, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, and a small group of people from the city to discuss safety and security issues in and around Cabbagetown. Gun violence and police response was certainly at the top of the list, followed closely by issues such as shelter support and ongoing outreach for homeless individuals, park cleanliness, and all of the things that make us feel safe in our communities.
Service level adjustments are being recommended this week in some of the “‘hot spots” of what is known as Downtown East, which do not include Cabbagetown. It was made clear at the meeting, however, that whatever is (or is not) done directly impacts our use and enjoyment of the businesses, parks, and facilities in our neighbourhood.
This working group seems to be quite sincere in generating positive outcomes and I shall keep you posted as I am updated.
In the meantime, stay cool!