Crime Prevention

Crime Prevention In The News Issues Local Interest Safety and Security Schools and Children

City/Local News Round-Up January 2022

Dear Cabbagetowners,

Happy New Year! We hope our first newsletter of 2022 finds you and your family happy, healthy and hopefully having dug out of the 55 cms of snow we received earlier this month.

As the city continues to deal with snow removal from the storm, we encourage everyone to do their part and shovel their sidewalks and walkways, and check on neighbours who may need assistance.

Winter sunset in Cabbagetown

We hope you enjoy this latest newsletter. As ever, if you have comments to share, feel free to email us at




In this issue:

  • Addressing Food Insecurity in our community
  • Winners of our 2021 Holiday Lights contest
  • The Wink at Winchester is up and running
  • Toronto’s 311 Mobile App
  • UrbanHensTO is looking for feedback
  • Crime Prevention Tips and Contacts
  • Cabbagetown BIA Update

Addressing Food Insecurity

Lack of food security continues to be a major source of concern in our community.  The local resident’s association, along with the Cabbagetown Preservation Association, are once again partnering with Dixon Hall in the Neighbours Helping Neighbours campaign. 

Holiday Lights contest winners

Congrats to our 2021 Holiday Lights winner!

First Place – Wellesley 2

Second Place – Sackville 2

Third Place – a tie between Sackville 1 and Amelia 1

Thanks to everyone who voted and to our winners, who received a one-year membership to the CRA and a $50 donation to their charity of choice!

Snowman and holiday lights on Wellesley street
First place – Wellesley 2
House on Sackville street decorated with holiday lights
Second Place – Sackville 2
White and coloured holiday lights on Amelia Street
Third Place – Amelia 1
White lights and lit up reindeer on Sackville Street
Third Place – Sackville 1




The Wink at Winchester is Up and Running!

The cold weather has made for perfect skating conditions for the second season of The Wink, our the community-built skating rink at Winchester Park! You can book your time at online. Children 6 and under must wear a CAS approved helmet, and anyone on the ice must wear skates. Be sure to follow The Wink via their Facebook page for updated hours of operation and rink conditions. There was also a cool shout out to The Wink is Toronto Life.

Last year The Wink ran a skate donation drive and collected around 50 pairs of used skates. Those skates have been tuned up and sharpened thanks to financial donations received from Royal St.George’s College Community and the Cabbagetown Residents Associaton. The Wink will be hosting a “Skate it Forward” event on Saturday February 5th at Winchester Park from 11am-3pm, or until they run out of skates! Kids and adults who could use a hand gaining access to skates are invited to come and find a pair to take home – for keeps! The Wink is not accepting anymore donations for skates this year.

A million thanks to Trish Finkelstein for her organization, and the generous contributions made by Mark Michelin at Steak & Chops, Bill Renieri at Home Hardware, Carolyn Jarman and Family, the Royal St.Georges’ Community, Just Hockey Source for Sports, the Cabbagetown Residents Association and the many neighbourhood volunteers who make building, running and maintaining the rink possible.  

Outdoor ice rink






Toronto’s 311 Mobile App

See a pothole? Want to report that pothole and then track the City’s response? The new 311 mobile app will allow you to do just that and much more.


UrbanHensTO is looking for feedback

What came first: the chicken or the egg? And while you’re thinking about that, take a few minutes to also let the #CityofTO know what you think about #Toronto’s #UrbanHensTO program. Take the survey by Feb 11, available at




Crime Prevention Tips and Tricks

Earlier this month at the Community Police Liaison Committee meeting, Sergeant Henry Dyck shared a great presentation on crime prevention. Our Neighbourhood Community Officers contacts are below:                                                                              (includes Cabbagetown)                                         

Cabbagetown BIA update

Our local BIA recently held a community consultation about the Cabbagetown StreetScape Master Plan. To view a recording of the meeting, and see the plan, click here.

Crime Alert Crime Prevention Issues

Spotlight on Safety and Security

Posted on October 22, 2020

Over the last few weeks we’ve received a number of emails from residents across Cabbagetown, advising us of safety and security issues in our neighbourhood. Our partner residents associations in Winchester Park and Cabbagetown South are also seeing an uptick in crime in their catchment areas.

Some of the things we have heard recently:

  • People following delivery trucks around Cabbagetown in their own cars and stealing boxes off of porches – directly after they’ve been delivered!

An increase in the number of:

  • Home invasions, during the day and night.
  • Assaults/sexual assaults on streets and in parks, sometimes in broad daylight.
  • Bicycle thefts, back laneway car break-ins/thefts and garage break-ins/thefts.

I should point out that most of the more serious crimes identified above are not, to our knowledge, occurring regularly in the CRA catchment area (St James Cemetery to Gerrard, Parliament to the Don River). However, if you are out and about in the neighbourhood, it’s simply a reminder to stay vigilant, safe and sound.


Here are a few commonsense tips on how to stay safe and secure:

  • Don’t walk or take pets out late at night/very early in the morning. If you have to, walk with someone else.
  • Parking on the street? Make sure nothing is visible in you car. Even a small amount of change can be enough for someone to smash your window.
  • Make sure that your back gates and garages are securely locked and bolted at all times.
  • Store bicycles out of site and securely locked, ideally indoors.
  • Ensure that all entry/exit doors and downstairs windows are locked at all times.
  • Secure outdoor furniture and garden decor whenever possible to deter thieves from stealing them.
  •  Invest in an alarm system if you don’t have one, ideally connected to a monitoring provider. 
  • Install video cameras at the front and back of your house, or at least a video doorbell  (well known brands include Ring, Arlo, Blink, Nest).
  •  Lighting is a great way to deter intruders from coming onto your property. Go outside your residence after dark and do an audit. Are there dark spots? Do the bushes and trees need to be trimmed?  Consider installing security lights in back laneways and/or front and back gardens. You can now get inexpensive and effective solar-powered options with motion detection that are a breeze to install.
  • Have parcels delivered to local depots like Penguin Pick-up or the Post Office (for Amazon), or elect for signature on delivery, so the parcel is not left on your doorsteps.
  • Report any streetlights that are out in your neighbourhood. Especially the lights in our alleyways They all have individual numbers and it’s important that they all remain operational. 


It’s really important to report ALL crimes. The more the police know about them, the more local police we have and the more patrols they do. But remember, getting an incident number assigned is all important. Once your report has an incident number, it becomes part of the crime statistics. Here’s all the different ways you can report crimes in our neighbourhood.


Crime Prevention

Reporting Crimes in Cabbagetown

Posted on October 22, 2020


If it is a life threatening emergency (e.g. fire, medical emergency, crime in progress, etc.)
CALL 911.


Non-emergency issues (e.g. property theft or damage, driving complaint, damage to a vehicle, etc.) call non-emergency response at 416-808-2222. Always be sure to get the incident number, to ensure it has been logged by the police.
You can also report non-emergency crimes online at: 
NOTE: This form allows you to append any pictures you may have.


Want to report noise complaints, aggressive panhandling, trespassing or nuisance issues, etc.? You can complete a Community Police Complaint Form. To do this, either call in to 416 808 5200 and request a Community Complaint Form (again, be sure you get an incident number.) Or simply complete the form online.
NOTE: This form does not allow you to append pictures but if you add “I have pictures” to your message, the police will reach out to get them.

If you feel there is a need for someone to actually come out (for a non-urgent community matter), you can reach out for assistance from the Community Response Unit, by phone at 416-808-5119 or by email:

Our Community Response Unit Officers are:
Henry Dyck
Todd Gowan



If you have ANY information on a crime you want to report anonymously contact CrimeStoppers:
1-800-222-TIPS (8477)
Text: CRIMES (274637)



  1. Please let the CRA know about crimes you report so we can alert the neighbourhood about them (
  2. Here’s a handy dandy leaflet  from Councillor Wong-Tam’s office listing all these communication channels.
  3. And remember… whenever a crime or a suspicious incident occurs, it’s important that you report it. The more official crime reports the police receive, the better able they are to determine the number of officers assigned to each division. And the more calls they receive from a particular neighbourhood, the more patrols that neighbourhood gets.


Crime Prevention Local Interest

233 Carlton Street – Community Forum Feedback


Frontage of 233 Carlton StreetThe CRA attended the Community Forum on  21 February at the Cabbagetown Youth Centre, along with several other local resident’s associations and many Cabbagetown residents.

We were wearing two hats that night, as both the CRA and as supporters of the Cabbagetown Coalition – a grassroots group of Cabbagetown residents, businesses and residents associations, focused on addressing safety and security concerns related to the proposed drop-in and respite centre at 233 Carlton Street.

We have worked closely with the Cabbagetown Coalition to pull together this comprehensive report on our findings at this session.

We also picked up several useful background documents and brochures related to Downtown East Action Plan, Respite Services and 233 Carlton itself. These can all be accessed via links in the report.

The City has promised to get back to residents with their own report on their findings at the Forum, which will hopefully also detail what they plan to do to address all the concerns raised by residents. When we get a copy of this report we will be sure share it on the CRA web site. 

If you were not able to attend and still wish to have your own voice heard directly, you can email the city’s engagement consultants for 233 Carlton Street  – Joy Connelly and Joe Mihevc, at  Please feel free to cc on such communications.

Crime Prevention

Security alert: Toronto police change policy on alarm response

By Des Ryan, a retired police officer, who is the volunteer safety and security lead on the CRA’s board of directors.

How many times have you accidentally tripped your house alarm? Too often to remember?

More often than not, false alarms are the result of user error. This results in having to dispatch two (yes, two!) officers to an address only to discover that all appears to be in order (as we like to say in policing circles!) each and every time.

This is an extremely costly process and consumes an enormous amount of deployable police hours: Toronto Police report that, in 2016, more than 97 per cent of alarm calls turned out to be false.

As a result, as of September 10th, the Toronto Police Service has implemented a new policy. Going forward, Police will be responding to alarm calls under the following conditions:
– the Monitoring Station is registered with the TPS, complied with call-processing requirements and is not under any TPS suspensions; and,
– the Monitoring Station must also comply with the verified response requirement as applied to burglar alarm system signals.

Since these conditions have to do with your alarm company, be sure to contact them asap to ensure that they are doing their part.

Other criteria that determine whether your alarm will be responded to include what is called “acceptable verified response criteria.”. These include:

– Audio devices (i.e., alarm systems that transfer real-time audio to an actual person listening in on the alarm);
– Video device (same as above, only real-time video transfer);
– An eyewitness (i.e. private security or person at scene); or
– Multiple zone activations (i.e., an alarm system that separates and reports incidents or alarm signals by areas that are monitored by the Monitoring Station. Zone 1 – Front Door, Zone 2 –Front Entry Motion, Zone 3 –Kitchen Motion, etc.).

What this means is that, rather than chasing after alarms like a dog after a ball in the park, TPS will only be responding to alarms that are legitimately verifiable. Having so said, there is nothing saying that the aforementioned ball-chasing dog could not be frolicking in your home, setting off multiple zone alarms in your house.

Note to self: do not set zone alarm unless dog is out of house.

Then, be sure to do your part in reducing false alarms (and getting yourself suspended from police response!). This includes changing the batteries of your alarm. Frequently. Make sure the sensors are clear of cobwebs and other debris that can send a false reading. Make sure your keyholder information is up-dot-date and be sure to schedule regular maintenance on the alarm. Finally, make sure your family and anyone else who uses the system knows how it works.

If you have any further concerns, or you just really like to read policy, check this out.

As an aside, this does not affect police response to Panic Alarm.

Crime Prevention

Safety and security tips for back to school

Des Ryan is a CRA volunteer board director and retired police officer who leads our safety and security work.

It is the end of August. Already! Summer holidays are nearly over, and the roads will be packed again as people return to work and the kids return to school.

If you are a driver, you are likely already aware of the usual pre-school drill: watch for children, be mindful of school buses loading and unloading, keep your speeds down in school zones (Always, you say!).

A couple other things I’d like to highlight:
– Never pass other vehicles, change lanes, or make U-turns while driving in a school zone.
– Unless licensed to do so, never use handicap or emergency vehicle lanes or spaces to drop off or pick up children at school.

So how about the kids? Regardless of how old they are, going back to school can still cause a bit of anxiety. Even getting to school can be a big deal. As you know, the best way to keep your little one (more or less) calm is for you to be (more or less) calm, which means anticipating some of the obstacles they may encounter.

If you’re walking your child to school, leave enough time to arrive at school at least 10 minutes prior to start time. Expect delays (Squirrel!). No point being in a panic before the day even begins. And take the same route there and back every day. It’s easy for little ones to get confused and turned around (did I say Squirrel already?), and they need to know how to get home alone, even if you anticipate always dropping off/picking up.

Of course, you’ll be walking on sidewalks, using designated crosswalks and/or traffic-controlled intersections and street corners as part of your route. And nobody’s running across the street. Oh, and remind your charge not to pop onto the street between parked cars — nobody needs that.

If your child is now too old to be seen in public with you, encourage them to walk to school with their friends. Safety in numbers. Remind them not to talk to strangers or get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them (you don’t want to know those stats about offenders known to the victims, I’m sure), unless you have already agreed that this person is okay.

Pre-emptively give your child the language and a few moves that will help them if a stranger approaches them, regardless of their age. And make sure you child knows that they need to tell someone in authority (i.e. you, a teacher, or a caregiver) about the incident as soon as possible.

If your little one is going to ride a bike to school, do a couple of practice runs before school starts. Make sure they know how to get there (and back) safely, even if you intend on going with them every day. Of course, they will have a helmet that fits that they will wear the entire time that they are riding their bike (see previous post for helmet safety and Highway Traffic Act fines!). As well as being the law, stats suggest that, in the event of an accident (which could be as minor as falling over at the stop sign) wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 85 per cent. Good enough for me!

Also, if your child is big enough to ride on the road, make sure they know the rules, stay on the right-hand side, and uses the appropriate hand signals (signals, not gestures). If your child is old enough to ride to school on their own, suggest that they ride with a buddy. It’s easier to see two or three bikes than one.

And now that we are on the road, what about those backpacks? I’ve seen ones that look like they weigh more than the kid! To prevent injury, backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10 to 15 per cent of a child’s body weight. And, while it may seem obvious, place the heavier items in the backpack first. The closer the heavier stuff is to the child’s back, the less strain it will cause. And try to have your child use both backpack straps and distribute their stuff as evenly as they can. I know….

Last little reminder: Depending on your child’s age, get rid of the drawstrings on their jackets and hoodies. They don’t serve any real purpose and they can cause some problems.

And now that the kids are back in school, we can all have a moment to ourselves for a coffee, beginning to end!

Crime Prevention

Cabbagetown Safety and Security Questionnaire results

Thanks to the residents who participated in the residents’ association safety and security questionnaire, which we had in the field in late 2017. The survey results were presented to the CRA Annual General Meeting held on June 8, 2018.

The area the Cabbagetown Residents’ Association represents – bounded by Gerrard to the north, Parliament to the west, St. James Cemetery to the north and the Don Valley to the east – covers around 2,000 households and 4,000 people.

Our questionnaire, which we promoted via our Cabbagetowner e-newsletter (627 subscribers), Facebook page (500+ followers) and Twitter account (1,900+ followers), drew 132 responses, of which 114 identified that they lived within the CRA boundaries. The numbers below are based on the responses from those 114 individuals.

Respondents were most concerned about personal safety: CRA’s past president Phil Frei, who has gone over all the survey responses in details, said he grouped together a variety of responses under the umbrella of personal safety, such as concerns about walking at night, muggers, and panhandlers on Parliament Street.

* Personal safety: 32 per cent
* Break-in/thefts: 28 per cent
* Violent crime/shootings: 13 per cent
* Other: 10 per cent (includes road safety issues with cars and bicycles)
* Drugs: eight per cent

The remaining 10 per cent said they had no/little concern, or left the question blank.

Of those who responded, 55 per cent said they had experienced a theft, or attempted theft or vandalism, at their home, 73 per cent said they had experienced a theft, or attempted theft or vandalism, of their car, and 59 per cent said they had experienced a theft, or attempted theft or vandalism, of their bicycle.

Des Ryan, a retired police officer and CRA board director who is the volunteer lead on safety and security issues for the CRA, points out that people who have experienced a theft would be more disposed to respond to a questionnaire on safety issues because they had heightened awareness due to that personal experience. He cautions against extrapolating the experience of 60 to 80 people into percentages for all Cabbagetowners and our households.

Nearly three-quarters of the respondents who had experienced a theft or other crime had reported it to police. About one third got a response from police, usually a follow-up on investigation. Why did the others not report to police? Among the responses:
* The police wouldn’t do anything
* It was my fault for leaving the door open / unlocked
* It’s not serious enough to report.

Des reminds everyone to report everything, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, because the police allocate resources based on reporting: it was only when more people reported on vandalism to their cars parked on the streets this winter, for instance, that police understood there was a pattern and likely common perpetrators.

Crime Prevention

Policing and security updates for June

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!

Crime Alert Crime Prevention

Two men arrested, charged with 14 counts related to auto vandalism

Toronto Police have announced that two men were arrested around 4 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 19 near Sackville Street. by undercover police officers.

Police issued a news release about the arrests just before noon on Monday, Feb. 19, with the following text:

“The Toronto Police Service, 51 Division, would like to make the public aware that two arrests have been made in the investigation into a rash of vandalism that occurred to vehicles in the Cabbagetown area.

“It is alleged that, at approximately 4 a.m. this morning, members of the 51 Division Major Crime Unit and the 51 Division Community Response Unit, were in the area and noticed suspicious behavior.

“The officers witnessed two people entering vehicles which were parked along Sackville Street and also committing damage to them. These suspects were approached by the officers and immediately ran. The officers pursued and were able to apprehend the suspects after a brief chase. Located were a knife and an ice-pick-type instrument on each suspect.

“The following were arrested and charged:

Estuardo Anfree Rivas, 21 years old, Toronto
* Mischief/Damage to Property not exceeding $5,000.00 X5
* Theft Under $5000.00
* Possession of Break and Enter Instrument
* Carry Concealed Weapon

Samson Bambino Carter, 18 years old, Toronto
* Mischief/Damage to Property not exceeding $5,000.00 X5
* Carry Concealed Weapon

The investigation is continuing and members of the public are being encouraged to continue being aware and vigilant of suspicious activity and to contact police and report any behavior that they find suspicious.

The investigators would still like residents to review their personal home security surveillance systems and send any video to police that may have captured vehicles being damaged or any other suspicious activity or persons.”

Please see the Cabbagetowner’s previous post on the auto vandalism, published Feb. 15,  for all the how-to tips on submitting video and reporting to the police.

Crime Alert Crime Prevention

Feb. 15 update on auto vandalism in Cabbagetown

Incidents of auto vandalism, first reported Feb. 8 on The Cabbagetowner post Auto vandalism investigation continues, have continued in our neighbourhood, with the latest reports coming from Sumach and Geneva streets.

The following breakdown and plotting of occurrences were provided today by Toronto Police Services 51 Division. Apologies for the poor /small quality of the map, but it does show the concentration of occurences, with 45 reported.

“There is no reasonable time frame for these occurrences, only that the overwhelming majority are occuring overnight after the vehicles have been parked for the night,” says Detective Sergeant Scott Spratt, who is in charge of the investigation. “At this point, there is no suspect information available.” Occurrences have happened on every night of the week, although there is a higher concentration on Tuesdays.

The CRA is recommending that, if you have security cameras at your property, please point them toward the street overnight. If you see anything suspicious when you review the footage, please submit to Toronto Police 51 Division, using this wetransfer link

Advice on how to package the video and information you should include: the “GO#” is the incident number for a crime report. If you have not filed a report because you have not been personally affected, indicate this if footage related to Cabbagetown auto vandalism.

Once uploaded, an email is sent automatically to the criminal investigation unit (CISU), then CISU processes the video and/or loads smaller clips directly into the occurrence file, which goes to the assigned investigator.

CRA volunteers have heard that some neighbours have experienced minor acts of vandalism (such as letting air out of a tire) that they have not reported because it did not seem worth it at the time: however, the more reports police have, the better they are able to track patterns and investigate. If you have not reported auto vandalism from 2018, please do so now. Police ask that you use this online reporting tool:

PC Kim Kelly and PC Sean Imrie are reviewing the videos and assisting: they can be reached at 416-808-5108.

Everyone should be vigilant about checking their car tires before starting up their vehicles: one resident reported that tires in that instance were not slashed or damaged, but air had been let out; the flats were not noticed before driving away, resulting in expensive damage to the wheels.

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