SAHRA Crime Update – April

In this issue, we would like to provide an update on the changes we are seeing with respect to auto theft and house break and enters in our area as well as adjacent neighbourhoods. Our overall goal is to raise awareness and share prevention techniques provided by Toronto Police Service. 

There is no doubt that the severity of auto theft is increasing and shows no signs of abating.  In 2023, we experienced a home being broken into for car keys while residents were home (home invasion). For residents who are victims of a home invasion, it is a very traumatic experience and can take months to recover. Police Officers are also being injured trying to prevent auto thefts. On April 9, an Officer from 32 Division was injured in the vicinity of Yonge and Finch while responding to an auto theft incident.  The thieves are brazen and fearless, and sometimes possess weapons.

House Break and Enter Update

In 2024, we are currently on pace to match our worst house break and enter year in our SAHRA record keeping history.  This was 2017 when we experienced 17 incidents. In the first quarter of 2024 we have had 4 house break and enters. One of these incidents was a home invasion which occurred in March.

The chart below illustrates house break and enters from 2019 to 2024 year to date. 

While we have experienced one home invasion in 2024, the areas proximate to us are much worse. The graphic below illustrates 32 Division home invasions in the first quarter. The area from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue north of Highway 401 is experiencing a significant number of incidents. Upper Avenue Community Association’s area west side of Avenue Road has experienced 15 house break and enters in the first quarter with 3 of these being home invasions. 32 Division covers a number of affluent neighbourhoods and is considered the epicentre of home invasions in the City. Demand is being driven by a great number of high-end autos and proximity to the 401 provides a quick escape route.

32 Division Home Invasions First quarter 2024

To assist in combating both auto theft and home invasions, police have increased their patrol cars in our area as well as added undercover officers during the night hours.  The number of resources continues to be challenging but nine new officers were recently added to 32 Division so this should provide some relief. Residents who see suspicious activity are encouraged to call the non-emergency number at 416-808-2222.

Auto Theft 

We are seeing a slight decline in auto theft. To date we have had seven thefts versus eight in the same period 2023. The chart below provides incidents by month. Thieves are still active. 

On March 22, 2024, the second Peel Auto Theft Summit was held. We have compiled notes from the Summit for those interested in more detail. Some highlights:

  • There has been a change in conversation about auto theft due to the increase in severity – specifically home invasions, carjackings, and Police Officer injury. Auto theft is no longer “just a property crime”.
  • All levels of government and other stakeholders are engaged and involved in solutions – there appears to be varying levels of commitment.
  • Municipal police services have active task forces underway and are collaborating across jurisdictions.
  • Agreement that a key issue to winning this battle is adding more resources and installing scanning technology for exports at the Ports – specifically Montreal.
  • Canada is considered a source country for auto theft, driven by organized crime rings which are feeding drugs, guns, gangs, etc. Auto theft for organized crime is the third highest revenue generator – low risk and high reward.

Courtesy of the OPP, the following chart provides a snapshot of the money involved for each player involved in an auto theft.  It is a lucrative business particularly for those in the upper end of the chain. 

As a general note, house break and enters in Toronto are up 62% in the first quarter compared to 2023. We are not the only area experiencing an increase.

Carjackings

Carjackings are also on the rise in the City with a 91% increase over first quarter 2023 as shown in the following graph. We do not have data on how many people in our area have experienced a carjacking, but we do know they are happening across the City.

Toronto Police Service provided the prevention techniques listed below for home invasions and car jackings. Just reviewing these techniques increases our own awareness and allows us to think through what we would do if faced with either of these types of incidents. 

We will continue to track the incidents and communicate any information we receive from Toronto Police.