Neighbourhood Watch Program – we need you!
SAHRA is reinstating the old Neighbourhood Watch concept in a “new, improved” format! We hope to improve community safety and reduce crime by creating multiple small Neighbourhood Watch Online (NWO) areas within SAHRA’s boundaries, each typically 25 – 35 homes, each led by a volunteer Group Captain. (Several groups are already up and running.) Once implemented, the residents can easily communicate amongst themselves while watching for unusual activities. We are looking for Group Captains. We estimate the time commitment as a few hours to set up the group and then minimally after that to co-ordinate a few communications per month, typically by email. We provide training and documentation. Interested in being a Group Captain? Please contact us at [email protected] and help us make Neighbourhood Watch Online a reality throughout SAHRA’s neighbourhood.
Neighbourhood Watch Online Message for Residents
On January 25, W5 (CTV) aired an excellent documentary on organized crime and break & enters in the GTA and other large Canadian cities. It featured a location in the Netherlands that had implemented Neighbourhood Watch to fight B&E’s. The result was a 50% reduction in burglaries. A great testimony of the power of Neighbourhood Watch. Anyone interested in becoming a Group Captain, please email us at [email protected].
Here’s the link to the show. Note – watch the video for the Neighbourhood Watch reference: https://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/organized-break-and-enter-gangs-arrive-as-tourists-and-target-canadian-neighbourhoods-1.4782025
Planning a Trip for a Winter Get-Away or March Break?
If you are going to be away, make arrangements with your neighbours letting them know your From/To dates so that they can keep a special eye on your place. They might be willing to pick up/store your mail for you or give your car a clean-off, if it snows.
Or you can make arrangements with Canada Post to Hold Mail (2 weeks for $21). Buy Hold Mail from a nearby post office or online at canadapost.ca/holdmail (https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/personal/receiving/manage-mail/hold-mail.page
Updates from the Community Police Liaison Committee
Two members from SAHRA attend the monthly meetings of the Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) with 32 Division. The following are updates from the December, 2019 meeting:
- The community has reported many incidents (often caught on security cameras) of people trying vehicle doors, at night, to see if they are unlocked in order to steal from them. If nothing is stolen, this cannot be reported online. Even so, the police would like to know about this behaviour, especially if you can provide a description of the person or have camera footage: if a potential thief is checking your vehicle doors, then she / he will likely steal from a vehicle with open doors down the street. (A further note from SAHRA: If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch Online (NWO) group, you can easily contact your group members to see if others have been affected by similar incidents. SAHRA is looking for volunteers to set up NWO groups in their areas, usually about 15 to 25 homes.)
- The police also noted that it is a criminal offence for someone to be “close to a house” between 9PM and 6AM even if nothing is taken. This likely would not cover someone trying to open vehicles doors as mentioned above, however.
- Street parking in areas without parking signs is normally limited to three hours in the City of Toronto. However, in North York, street parking is not allowed between the hours of 2AM to 6AM from December 1 to March 31.
- Generally, crime has been on the rise within the city this year, but crime within 32 Division has decreased slightly, except for auto theft. While there has been no homicides in 32 Division, shootings are up significantly over last year-to-date.
- Auto thefts continue to be focussed on Highlander and Lexus vehicles. There were a series of arrests made recently as reported in the media. More arrests may be made as the investigation continues.
- Speed enforcement cameras will be installed soon. They will be primarily located in School Safety Zones. The cameras will be relocated every 6 to 12 months.
- The City’s Vision Zero initiative includes the reduction of speed limits on many streets. Ensure you notice the maximum speed signs.
- REPORT, REPORT, REPORT! The police have been consistent in their message that they deploy their resources in areas with high levels of reporting. They use mapping tools which help them identify areas where reports are being made. This helps them make resource-deployment decisions. It is a data-driven methodology. As mentioned in previous SAHRA eblasts, many reports can be made online at the Toronto Police Service’s Citizen Online Report Entry (CORE) website.) SAHRA is aware of three members who have made online reports in the last few weeks: Ignoring stop signs along Elm Avenue; pedestrian safety at the intersection of Yonge Boulevard and Wilson; vehicles parked too close to the intersections of Felbrigg and Haddington at Greer.
Crime Prevention Tips (compliments of Downtown Calgary)
- You can prevent crime by keeping your car safe from break‐ins and thefts.
- Park in well‐lit, traveled areas
- Keep valuables and gifts out of site in the trunk, and do not to leave them in the vehicle for long periods of time
- Don’t leave your keys in the car while it is running
- Use a steering‐wheel lock and/or car alarm to make your vehicle less attractive to thieves
- Ensure your doors are locked (and windows on child‐lock) once everyone is inside to avoid unwanted visitors from entering your vehicle
- You can prevent crime by talking to youth about stranger danger.
- Teach kids to ask store clerks or mall security if they become separated from you
- Never leave kids alone in the car
- If you have a cell phone, ensure your kids have the phone number handy to reach you, and they know where they can go to access a phone (stores, info‐desk, security and payphones)
- If dropping youth off to shop on their own, establish a meeting place inside the establishment for pick‐up (not in the parking lot or at doorways)
- For younger ages, use a safety word
- You can prevent crime by being a safe driver on the road.
- Obey all traffic signals
- Reduce speed and exercise caution when driving in inclement weather
- Know your route, and have an alternate one planned in the case of unforeseen circumstances
- Park your vehicle at the side of the road to answer your phone, or tend to other distracting events such as pets/kids, eating, reading a map, texting, etc.
- You can prevent crime by keeping your information safe when shopping online.
- Type the store’s URL directly in your browser rather than browse to online retailers through a search engine where you may encounter malicious links
- Use a different password for each site you must sign in for and don’t let the browser store passwords for you
- Always look for the https prefix in the URL and the padlock icon in the browser’s status bar. (If you shop at an online retailer that uses SSL encryption, make sure the address bar turns green as a signal that the page is secure)
- Use a credit card rather than a debit card online so you can stop payments quickly in the event of a problem
- Be cautious with e‐mails claiming to be shipping confirmation or package alerts that force you to open a file attachment. Delete any message that claims to provide tracking information but doesn’t include a tracking number.
- You can prevent crime, by identifying fraudulent scams to stay away from.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
- If making a purchase online or through classified ads, arrange to meet at a neutral, public location and do not go alone – you don’t know who is on the other side of the transaction
- You have the right to check out any caller by requesting written information, a call back number, references and time to think over the offer
- Do some research online to get to know the current scams
- The Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on Mass Marketing Fraud (telemarketing), advanced‐fee fraud letters (Nigerian letters),internet fraud and identity theft complaints from Canadian and American consumers and victims. Report Fraud to The Canadian Anti‐ Fraud Centre toll free at 1‐888‐ 495‐8501 or via e‐mail at [email protected]
- You can prevent crime if making donations to canvassers for charities.
- Ask for legitimate identification – only donate to registered charities
- Contact the Canada Revenue Agency to see if the charity is registered at http://www.cra‐arc.gc.ca/charities/
- If you are approached by someone suspicious, call the police
- Do not feel pressure to donate right away – ask for information on how you can donate at a later time
- You can prevent crime when sending gifts.
- Do not send cash in the mail
- Communicate with your recipient to ensure they are expecting a parcel
- When sending a gift or gift card, consider using registered mail or a courier service so parcels can be tracked and insured
- You can prevent crime by keeping your home safe from break‐ins.
- Keep any ladders used for putting lights up away from the home so criminals cannot use them to climb up to your windows
- Do not display gifts in a window or doorway
- Properly dispose of gift packaging and boxes. Do not leave these outside for all to see, as this will advertise the contents of your home to thieves. Put inside garbage bags or take directly to recycling depots
- You can prevent crime by securing your home before you go away.
- Make your home look lived in: put lights, radios and TVs on variable timers; have someone stay inside your home for a while each day if possible
- Have a trusted neighbour/friend/family member check on your home daily, collect your mail, and shovel your walks
- If you’re leaving a vehicle outside your house, have someone move its position periodically, to make it appear as if it is being used
- Lock‐up tools, BBQs and ladders and make sure they are out of sight; set and test your timers; lock and check doors and windows; and leave shades and blinds in normal positions.
- Turn off the telephone ringer so no one knows your home is empty (and don’t leave outgoing phone or e‐mail messages saying you are away)
- Read your home insurance policy to find out how often your home needs to be checked in order to maintain your coverage
- You can prevent crime by reporting suspicious behaviour to police.
- If you see any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, call police; call 911 for a crime in progress
- You may submit an anonymous crime tip to Crime Stoppers
- You can prevent crime by recognizing domestic violence and taking action.
- Domestic violence can be seen through various avenues for example in the workplace, neighbours, etc. – it takes a community to address domestic violence and it is important to call for help
- The holidays can be a stressful time and the affects of difficult times are felt long before they get to a point of crisis – it is important for people seek help before they get to that point
- Calling police for help does not mean charges will be laid automatically, our goal is public safety and to assist families in getting the help they need
- You can prevent crime by getting home from the party safely.
- Do not leave your drink unattended when at parties or other social events, to avoid the risk of someone altering it
- Never drink and drive – and convince others do the same
- If going to a holiday party, pre‐arrange transportation to ensure a safe ride home (taxi cabs, designated drivers, public transportation)
- When leaving a licensed establishment, ensure you and your friends get home safely; do not walk outside by yourself
- Always let friends or family know where you plan on going for the evening, and be accountable for notifying them when you are home safely
- When taking a cab, note the company and number on the vehicle for accountability purposes and to track down in case you leave something behind
- You are reminded to always be aware of your surroundings – stay in busy, well‐lit areas and avoid dark, deserted places; if you are suspicious of someone, trust your instincts and scream or use a personal emergency alarm to attract attention
- Stay in groups when travelling to and from a venue, at a function, or taking public transit and taxi cabs.
Alert: Attempted Mugging near LCBO/McDonald’s (3400 Yonge St)
The Lawrence Park West Neighbourhood Watch has advised of the following incident:
On the afternoon of Dec 5 at around 3:00, a woman who works on Yonge Street was returning to her car which she parks in a church parking lot and she was mugged in the alleyway behind the LCBO. Fortunately a delivery driver heard her scream and chased the assailant away. She managed to hold on to her purse so he didn’t get anything. Video surveillance has been requested from neighbourhood buildings.
Toronto Police Service Vulnerable Persons Registry
The Toronto Police Service Vulnerable Persons Registry is a voluntary database that provides important information to first responders about the issues that vulnerable members of the community might be coping with. The information in the database includes details such as specific behaviours officers might encounter, recommended de-escalation strategies and contact information for family members or other individuals who can provide support. Dispatchers, police officers and other support personnel will then be able to access this information when they are interacting with the person. This leads to a better understanding of the causes for behaviours and provides officers with information about how to best assist the person. If, at any time, you wish to remove the information from the Vulnerable Persons Registry please do so by notifying the Toronto Police Service via the online portal. Here is the link : https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/vulnerable-persons-registry/
Online Reporting of Illegal Parking
Are you upset about drivers that park in front of a fire hydrant or the driver that parks their car in too small an area such that they block your driveway? How do you report this type of parking infraction?
You can report many different kinds of incidents or concerns on the Toronto Police’s CORE (Citizen Online Reporting Entry) website. This includes Parking in front of a hydrant and Blocking a Driveway.
Choose the “Immediate Parking Complaint” area at the bottom of the webpage to enter information. Be prepared to provide info about the time, place, vehicle’s licence plate number and description of the vehicle. A photo or video is even better.
Fraud Alert Lunch & Learn
Constable Leslie Henry, Toronto Police gave an engaging presentation on Fraud and Seniors at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church on Nov 19th. Read the first article in the Nov 24th eBlast for highlights:
SAHRA eBlast – Nov 24 2019
Online Reporting of Driving Infraction or Traffic Concern
Are you upset about that driver in the yellow SUV which never stops at the stop sign? Are you driven to distraction by the drivers who continually speed along your residential block? There’s an app for that!
Read the article in the Nov 24th eBlast to find out how you can report many different kinds of incidents or concerns on the Toronto Police’s CORE (Citizen Online Reporting Entry) website. Two of them are Driving Complaints, and Local Neighbourhood Traffic Issues or Concerns. Keep in mind that the police only deal with enforcement. If you are interested in road redesign, for instance, then approaching the Councillor’s office is the better avenue to effect change.
SAHRA eBlast – Nov 24 2019
Community Police Liaison Committee – November Update
Shootings in 32 and 33 Divisions (33 is to the east of 32) last month are 50 year-to-date versus 42. Fortunately, there has been no loss of life. Project Community Space, which moves officers into high-risk areas for higher visibility, has been extended to the end of November to deal with this. Extension beyond that depends on funding.
Robberies and B&E’s (Break & Enters) are down this year compared to last year (19% and 3% respectively), but vehicle theft is up (22%). For the most part entry to homes is by smashing doors and windows.
Despite B&E’s being down from last year, there has been a spike recently in 32 Division. The police are focusing on high B&E areas with both uniformed and plain clothes officers. On November 19, there was an arrest of a significant B&E player in both York and Toronto
B&E criminals only want to enter an empty home. To find empty homes, they look for lack of footprints in the snow. They also leave twigs in between a door and its jamb: if the twig is still in place a day later, the door hasn’t been opened – and presumably the home is empty. In a two recent cases, B&E’s took place while people were in the homes.
Learnings: Always ensure that your home looks lived in when you are away. Clear the snow from your walkways, driveway and vehicles. Be on the lookout for twigs left between the door and its jamb. If found, contact police. If someone knocks on the door or rings the doorbell, always answer so you establish that someone is home. You don’t need to open the door to answer – you can talk through a closed door.
As reported in an earlier eBlast, six youths were arrested following a swarming robbery attempt on Avenue Road. The police are looking for links to other robberies in the city.
In a recent study of a small area, over 75% of speeding tickets were issued to residents of the area. Ensure that you are obeying the rules and laws of the road while driving, both close to home and elsewhere.
A new regulation change will allow the use of photo radar in school zones.
Within our neighbourhoods, we often see or hear of persons attempting to open vehicle doors when parked overnight in driveways. Even if they don’t steal anything, this should be reported to police. Attempted theft is an offence. Often the criminal is a repeat offender: the police have knowledge of them (what they look like, etc.). Make a phone call to the non-emergency number (416-808-2222) if you can report while the crime is happening. If reporting later, use the online tool: go to the Toronto Police CORE (Citizen Online Report Entry) website, select “Theft from Vehicle UNDER $5000” even though a theft didn’t take place, and complete the report. If you have a photo or video, make sure to include it.
With the upcoming holiday season, many people will be ordering gifts online to have them delivered. This also means that Porch Pirates, who steal packages left near the front door, will become more active as well. Porch Pirates have been active in our neighbourhood within the last year. In a previous eBlast, SAHRA has mentioned that Canada Post offers FlexDelivery which holds packages so that you can pick them up later. Or you could ask a nearby neighbour to look out for packages and bring them in until you are home.
Criminals sometimes scan or steal mail left by Canada Post at homes which have outside mailboxes. They are attempting to gain enough information for identity theft. This has happened in our neighbourhood, so be aware. Ensure that your mail is secure after it is delivered. Perhaps you should consider installing a slot in your door to accept mail and remove the outside mailbox which is not secure.
Safety Alert – Swarming
We received this on behalf of Sergeant Collin at 32 Division:
I just wanted to make you aware of 6 arrests made on Friday night in relation to a robbery on Avenue Road near Brooke Avenue. All arrested parties were young offenders. Our Major Crime Unit is looking for any linkages to other crimes in the area.
The official press release can be found at http://torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/45806. The text of the press release is copied here for your convenience:
The Toronto Police Service would like to make the public aware of arrests made in relation to a robbery that occurred in the Avenue Road and Brooke Avenue area.
It is alleged that:
– on Friday, November 8, 2019, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the victim was walking in the area of Avenue Road and Brooke Avenue
– the victim was approached from behind by six youths
– the victim was ordered to empty his pockets
– he was thrown to the ground, assaulted and choked
– he was robbed of personal items
– the youths fled on foot and were arrested by police nearby
Six boys, between the ages of 14 and 16, all of Toronto, were arrested and charged with Robbery. They appeared in court at Old City Hall on Saturday November 9, 2019, at 9 a.m., in courtroom 101.
Please refer to Section 110, Subsection 1, of the YCJA:
110. (1) Subject to this section, no person shall publish the name of a young person, or any other information related to a young person, if it would identify the young person as a young person dealt with under this Act.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3200, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.
On Friday night (Nov 8th) around 11:00 p.m., a group of teenagers were at a table in McDonalds. They noticed 4 teenagers walking north on Avenue Road and left the restaurant. Outside they approached the 4 teenagers and began yelling at them – 3 began running north and one was swarmed. He was punched in the face, beaten up and his backpack was stolen. Three Police cars arrived in the area and based on a witness account the Police caught one or more of the teenagers in the vicinity of Avenue Rd and Brooke.
These steps from Toronto Police can help keep you and your children safe:
- DON’T RESIST a robbery. When asked for phones & wallets, purses etc., give them up. They are only property – your safety is the priority.
- Take notice of the descriptions of the suspects, what they are wearing, what they say, possible “accents”, how they approached, where they went after the robbery (direction of travel) along with possible vehicle descriptions.
- CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY 9-1-1
- If there are people around when thieves approach, YELL FOR HELP and make noise to attract attention to you.
- Whenever possible, walk in groups or with at least one other person.
Fraud Alert Lunch & Learn
Learn about the most common frauds and scams, tips on how to keep yourself safe online and general home and personal safety tips. An interactive Lunch & Learn presentation with Constable Leslie Henry, Toronto Police.
Tuesday, November 19 Noon – 2:00 p.m. at Armour Heights Presbyterian Church, 105 Wilson
If you would like to attend, please contact Erin Stone the Church Administrator so that they can define the Lunch counts. (416) 485-4000 [email protected] Office Hours: Monday-Friday: 9:00am – 2:00pm
Updates from the Community Police Liaison Committee
Two members from SAHRA attend the monthly meetings of the Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC). Here is some info from the Sept and Oct meetings.
32 Division is dealing with the robberies of teens after they left McDonald’s on Avenue Road. Councillor Colle has been on the radio/TV advising the public of the event and the police investigation. Apparently two arrests were made last week and the police are continuing with their follow-ups.
From Oct 11-14, Operation Impact targeted distracted driving, use of cell phones by drivers and use of seatbelts.
A back-to-school campaign was completed by the Traffic Group, primarily targeting school drop off in the morning.
Shootings in 32 Division (as of Oct 16) have increased from 22 YTD in 2018 to 42 in 2019. However, there have been no homicides. The shootings have tended to be concentrated in certain geographic areas. Project Community Space has been raised which moves officers into these areas for higher visibility. This project will run until the end of October.
It is expected that the provincial government will change a regulation in October which will allow the use of cameras to enforce speeding limits.
Complaints against drivers can be made online at the Citizen Online Report Entry (CORE) website https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/core/. Choose the “Driving Complaint” area at the bottom of the page to enter information about unlawful driver behaviour. Be prepared to provide info about the time, place and description of the vehicle – it is best to have the vehicle’s licence plate number. A photo or video is even better. Even if the police cannot identify the driver, a letter will be sent to the vehicle owner explaining the complaint.
Break and Enters
Unfortunately The Post reported 3 Break & Enters in August in the SAHRA area. The Bedford Park – Nortown Neighbourhood Watch Online group has followed up with their police liaison regarding these B&E’s. Recommendations/suggestions from the Toronto Police Service: cameras or the ring-like device might help capture the culprits; another option is to install a device that stimulates a deep dog bark; do not put pictures on Facebook or Instagram while you are away as it is advertising that you are not at home.
Watch Out For These Scams (compliments of Toronto Hydro)
Toronto Hydro is seeing an increase in scams targeting its customers, especially around long weekends. Most fraudsters are contacting customers by phone. They’re threatening immediate disconnection and demanding payment, usually in the form of a pre-paid card or Bitcoin. Toronto Hydro never threatens to disconnect power immediately. Toronto Hydro also doesn’t have a 1-800 number and we don’t accept payment by wire transfer. Report suspicious activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 (quote file number 844396). Also, please report to Toronto Hydro by calling 416-542-8000 or by submitting a report online at torontohydro.com/reportfraud. Learn more about how to protect yourself: torontohydro.com/fraud.
We discovered that the links listed above did not work. The new links are:
Block scammers with these tips:
- Don’t provide any personal or account information if contacted by phone, email or text.
- Don’t make any type of payment until you can confirm you’re dealing with Toronto Hydro.
- Don’t click on any links advertising a refund or a rebate in text messages or emails as this is a tactic fraudsters use to access personal information.
Spoofing using the Toronto Police Service non-emergency number
An alert from the Bedford Park – Nortown Neighbourhood Watch Online:
Toronto police are warning the public on Thursday about robocalls spoofing its non-emergency number. Police spokesperson Allyson Douglas-Cook said they have received reports from people that have been getting these calls showing their non-emergency number — 416-808-2222.
The robocalls, which are in Mandarin, have been asking for credit card information, said Douglas-Cook. She said it led to people calling Toronto police to verify if police have contacted them and requested certain information. “The Toronto police will never call and request any kind information, especially credit card information,” said Douglas-Cook. These calls are relatively new, said Douglas-Cook, but it is enough of a concern to warn the public about these calls. She said police will be investigating to determine who is behind these calls. “It is essentially fraud,” said Douglas-Cook. She said the non-emergency number would not show up if police contact a person or return a call. “If anyone sees this number and receives any request for information, this is not the Toronto police,” said Douglas-Cook.
Montreal man arrested for auto theft in Toronto
A Globe & Mail article on Aug 1, 2019 reported “a 19-year old Montreal man is facing dozens of charges related to an alleged car-theft ring in Toronto. Local police allege the man was part of an operation targeting high-end, newer model Lexus and Toyota vehicles, usually taking them early in the morning. They allege the man stole 36 vehicles in just over a month in November and December, 2018. The man now faces 71 charges.” The Toronto Police have confirmed that some of the charges stem from the SAHRA area.
Area Break-ins reported in the August Post
Ridley Blvd & Elm Rd July 1 12 am
Belgrave Ave & Delhi Ave July 5 5 pm
Yonge Blvd & Apsley Road July 7 1 am
Please be safe, be aware and communicate.
Pizza Delivery Scam
The Toronto Police are making the public aware of an investigation into Pizza Delivery Fraud occurring within the GTA. It is not specific to our neighbourhood but it’s good to be aware of the scam and how it works. Since mid-July Toronto Police, as well as neighbouring Police Services in the GTA, have been receiving reports of incidents in which debit cards have been compromised by persons posing as pizza delivery drivers. The police are seeking the public’s assistance identifying three men believed to be involved in this investigation.
It is reported that:
– pizza orders, which were placed for delivery, were intercepted by a group of at least three male suspects
– the suspects would then deliver the intercepted pizza to the intended customers
– the customers would in turn pay using their debit card to the hand held debit device which was presented to them
– during the transaction the card of the unsuspecting customer would be compromised, and the suspects would switch the debit card with a similar looking card
– the suspect would leave the home, attend a nearby automatic banking machine, and conduct fraudulent banking transactions
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, online on our Facebook Leave a Tip page, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
Porch Parcel Thefts
A resident reported last week the theft of boxes delivered and left on the front porch. A woman and a little girl were captured on the security recording driving up in a white SUV and removing the boxes. Unfortunately, this is becoming an easy target for thieves. Canada Post has recently started a new service called FlexDelivery where they hold the parcel(s) at a post office and send you a message so you know when they’ve arrived and can be picked up.
If you are expecting a delivery and you are going to be home, check your front porch frequently on the expected day of arrival – sometimes the delivery service does not even ring the doorbell to see if you are home/they just leave it.
A member reported that around 1:00 am on the morning of May 16 that Topiaries were stolen from outside the premises. Did anyone else have a similar type of theft that evening?
Updates from the Community Policy Liaison Committee
Warmer weather tends to lead to increased crime at night, so be vigilant!
Break & Enters 208 YTD in 2019
Robbery 52 YTD in 2019
Auto theft 150 YTD in 2019
Distraction thefts have been reported, especially involving Seniors. Thieves offer fake gold-looking jewelry such as necklaces while removing real gold necklaces from their victims necks.
Lock your front door when moving the back lawn. The noise of the mower at the rear of the house signals to thieves that there might be no one in the house, and often front doors are left unlocked.
If you observe a suspicious person in your neighbourhood, the police recommend acknowledging the person at a distance to let them know that they are being observed. For instance, a wave while walking on the opposite side of the street gives a signal that you see them. If you can safely photograph them and send the photo to the police, this would be helpful. Do not engage them as this might be unsafe.
Online Reporting to the Toronto Police Service
You can also use the Online Reporting system to report local traffic issues such as speeding, running stop signs and parking complaints.
You may want to consider adding Motion Sensor Security Lights at the side and back of your home – the police are reporting that many of the breakins are occurring at the back of the house, as it can allow the criminal to work in the safety of darkness. Motion sensor security lights are available that can be put on your outside electrical system. As well, solar units are now available that can be installed independently – look for Multifunctional Solar LED Flood Lights.
COMMUNITY SAFETY NIGHT
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Final Community Safety Night eBlast Poster
On May 1, 2019, the Upper Avenue Community Association (UACA) and the South Armour Heights Residents’ Association (SAHRA) co-hosted a “Community Safety Night”. This was in response to membership feedback concerning safety in our communities.
Review the Overview document for an outline of the documents available of information presented detailing crime in our community along with crime prevention techniques.
Overview of Website Information
Community Safety Night Power Point Presentation (PDF version with notes)
How To Report A Crime
Crime Data Disclaimer
TPS Break and Enter Crime Data Extract 2014-2018
TPS Auto Theft Crime Data Extract 2014-2018
Subarea stats Colour Rev 3 – April 23 Word
The Neighbourhood Watch program is a proven solution to reducing crime levels in our communities. We will be moving forward with this program. A Neighbourhood Watch information session will be held on Thursday, June 13th from 7:00-9:00 pm. More information will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks.
If you want to participate in a Neighbourhood Watch program, please send an email expressing your interest to [email protected].
Crime Prevention discussion at 2019 AGM
Police officers from the Community Response Team spoke to us at our Annual General Meeting on Apr 3, 2019 on crime issues in our community; SAHRA reported on their involvement with the Community Police Liaison Committee; we discussed how to report crimes or suspicious behaviour; and we talked about prevention techniques.
Spot and Stop Scams (published by Toronto Hydro)
Beware of bitcoin requests, phishing and other customer scams. Toronto Hydro is seeing a significant in rease in reports of fraud. Criminals posing as Toronto Hydro employees have developed aggressive phone, email, text and door-to-doors scams designed to trick customers out of money and/or personal information. Often they mask their phone number so that it appears to be Toronto Hydro calling.
Here are some common red flags:
- Toronto Hydro never threatens to disconnect power immediately.
- Toronto Hydro does not accept Bitcoin, any cryptocurrency or pre-paid credits cards as a form of payment.
If you suspect you’re being targeted:
- Hang up on any suspicious calls.
- Don’t click on any links asking you to accept electronic transfers.
- Ignore requests for personal information.
- Never make payments related to “Smart Meter Deposits” (it’s not a real charge).
Please report any suspicious activity to:
Customer Care Team at 416-542-8000 (Mon to Fri 8 am – 8 pm)
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 (quote file number 844396)
Remember to Lock your Car Doors
Another incident – a member within SAHRA’s boundaries reported on the morning of March 4th that their car had been entered and the glove compartment was found open. The resident noticed fresh foot tracks up the driveway in the snow that fell the previous evening. Snow had been brushed off the car’s handle and window on the driver’s side. Please try to remember, even when rushed or unloading, to make sure that your car is locked.
Protecting your Key Fobs
Some links from recognized information sources:
Sounds like there are some good non-technical deterrents – steering wheel club, boot lock, parking in the garage.
Search Amazon for “Faraday bag for keyfobs” for a variety of products with various features in different price ranges.
A SAHRA member wrote to us about a scam they encountered in our Neighbourhood. It involved a supposedly empty car blocking in their legally parked car. When the owner tried to move their car, three men appeared, accusing the owner of damaging their car and demanding payment. It is recommended that you call the Police if this should happen to you.
A SAHRA member wrote to us today asking that we alert the neighbourhood that at around 5:00 am Tuesday, Feb 19th there were 2 males walking down Elm Rd towards Felbrigg going from vehicle to vehicle trying to open doors. Their security company sent them footage of the brazen attempts.
Please remember to not leave anything in your car and to lock your car doors.
If you see any questionable activity, please report it to 32 Division (416-808-3200).
(An update from a recent Community Police Liaison Committee meeting)
The same password should never be used on every online account for security reasons. If one of the accounts is compromised, they’re potentially all in danger. Perhaps you should consider using ‘password manager’ software.
You can check to see if any of your passwords have been compromised on https://haveibeenpwned.com/
Alert! Another Auto Theft
A Toyota Highlander was stolen recently from a house near the intersection of Delhi and Belgrave. Toronto Police have revealed that there were about 1,000 more vehicles stolen in 2018 than the previous year. Lately, luxury brands such as Lexus, Mercedes and Land Rover were the main targets.
Toronto Police has a website specific to auto theft. The link provides good information on how to reduce the risk of vehicle theft.
Police Update (Jan 2019)
- Toronto Police report that there have been several incidents where twigs were placed between the door jambs and the doors of residential homes, for both house doors and garage doors. This method is used to determine if the residents of a home are away – if the twig remains caught in the door, no one has opened it and thus it is an indication that the door has not been opened and no one is home. If you find a twig or some other item caught in an external door at your home, you should let the police service know.
- In order to reduce the number of deaths caused by drunk driving, there have been changes made to the criminal code to allow police to demand a breath sample at the roadside of any driver lawfully pulled over. Toronto Police are using this new tool. They are also implementing the R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) programme at different hours during the day rather than just focusing the stops at nighttime.
Auto Thefts On the Rise
An interesting article on the rise in auto thefts in the Toronto area along with a security expert’s opinions on why and what we have to do to prevent the theft.
Crime Update (October 2018)
SAHRA Directors have applied and been accepted to join the Community Police Liaison meeting.
Toronto Police Information
The Toronto Police website contains information and pamphlets on various Crime Prevention topics. Links are provided to the following pages – you can obtain information on subjects such as Break & Enter Prevention, Apartment Security, Personal Safety, Frauds & Scams, etc.
Extracted from a Harvey Kalles Newsletter May, 2015/published in a July 9, 2018 eBlast
“Did you know that the most common threat to your home while you are away on summer holidays is burglary? Typically burglary is a non-confrontational crime but being victimized can leave a family feeling vulnerable and violated.
What follows is a top 5 list of suggestions from Protectron to minimize your risk by making your home unattractive to potential burglars.
- The first step, is to “harden the target” or make your home more difficult to enter. Most burglars enter via the front, back, or garage doors. Burglars know to look inside your car for keys and other valuables so keep it locked, even inside your garage. Use high quality Grade-1 or Grade-2 locks on exterior doors to resist twisting, prying and lock-picking attempts.
- When vacationing, leave a car in your driveway or arrange for a neighbour to keep a car there and move it around from time to time.
- Have someone mow your lawn, rake leaves and pick up your mail while you’re away.
- Home security systems play a crucial role in a home security plan and are very effective, if used properly, especially when monitored 24-7 by ULC-listed monitoring centres. Home security systems need to be properly installed and maintained to be most effective. Your home security system should include a loud inside alarm, detectors on all exterior doors, and motion sensors in the master bedroom and main living areas.
- For ultimate control and peace of mind while you’re away, you should look into the fully interactive wireless security systems where you can arm and disarm your alarm, lock or unlock your front door, control lights and your home’s thermostat at the touch of your smartphone. You could even have video monitoring and receive alerts to view the comings and goings of cleaning staff or house sitters.”
Councillor Jaye Robinson’s Ward 25 Crime and Safety Meeting
More than 300 residents gathered at the Lawrence Park Community Church in February, 2018 to voice their concerns to the TPS officials in attendance, including Chief Mark Saunders, Superintendent Rob Johnson, of the 32 and 33 Division, and senior officials from the 53 Division.
Chief Saunders highlighted the new strategy to modernize policing in the City of Toronto. For example, TPS division boundaries are currently being reconfigured to align with neighbourhoods and streamline resources. In Ward 25, the divisions bordering Bayview Avenue will be consolidated to better serve the community.
The overarching concern expression by the neighbours during the concluding question period was the high number of break-and-enters in Ward 25. In response, TPS officials suggested several preventative tips and strategies, including:
- Make your home look “lived in” while you are away for an extended period of time by:
- Arranging for a neighbour to park in your empty driveway
- Using timers to maintain normal lighting patterns
- Temporarily halting mail delivery
- Asking a neighbour to put a garbage bin in front of your house on collection day
- Contact your respective divisional Crime Prevention Officers for assistance in developing a customized home security strategy.
Above all, the TPS representatives emphasized the importance of community cooperation and reiterated their commitment to proactive policing in our neighbourhoods. You should report any suspicious activity you observe, as the police use reporting data to direct resources.
Focus on Security
(an insert in the Winter 2013 SAHRA Newsletter)
We live in a safe and friendly neighbourhood, and it is very easy to become complacent about home security. But, even in the SAHRA neighbourhood, break-ins do happen.
With the holiday season ending and our return to a steady routine (which thieves love), here are some brief thoughts and suggestions on home protection to consider.
75 percent or more of break-ins happen during the day. Thieves don’t want to be confronted – they are looking for a quick in and out. They may be monitoring the activity on a street to see when people leave and return. Nannies or parents may not lock every window or door in the house for the short time it takes to drop off or pick up kids from school. Even 10 minutes gives a thief enough time to execute a costly break-in!
Burglars will stake out a house for days, studying the owner’s patterns. They can be middle aged or older, male or female and dressed to fit into the neighbourhood. Their accomplice may be in car nearby. They may pretend they are reading meters, meanwhile they are surveying the street. Most construction crews are hardworking and honest, but there may be the temporary construction employee working for a builder and noting the habits of the neighbours for a future break-in. Some thieves drive up and down streets looking for large discarded TV or computer boxes in the trash….advising them of new electronics in the house. Use box cutters and place them in your blue box out of site.
Lock you doors, even when you are at home! While you are raking in your back yard – lock your front door and garage door. The suspect can quickly grab your purse, wallet or car keys if you leave them by the front door. If they have entered your house and you see them, they may fake an illness or say they are lost and are in the wrong house. Note their description, and as soon as they leave, call 911. Watch for where they go and look for their getaway car.
Burglars look to see if you’re home and look for a point of entry. Remove any potential hiding places. Big bushes in front of a window give the robber opportunity to hide and perhaps the opportunity to wrap a rock around his jacket and quietly break the window gaining access.
Is your home secure?
- To avoid windows with alarm contacts, a robber can get into a basement by
removing the windowpane. Make sure basement windows are inside the frame,
not just a windowpane secured by a simple trim.
- Install sensor lights high enough that a burglar can’t easily unscrew the bulbs.
- Use deadbolts on all your doors. It does mean you need a key for the inside and the outside to unlock your door, but it deters a break in.
- Condo owners need to lock their doors and windows too. A burglar can climb to an unlocked balcony door and let themselves in.
- Keep burglar alarm stickers fresh. Faded stickers signal a non-functioning or non-existent alarm system.
- Old storm doors will break under the force of a strong shoulder, so make sure your doors are solid.
- Sliding doors are especially easy to break into so install a metal riser along the bottom or put a latch to lock track, so they can’t be lifted out. For bigger windows and sliding doors, use decorative bars to avoid break-ins. A skilled burglar can use a pin or a credit card to open up most cheap locks.
- Motion detectors need to be carefully positioned to be effective and most aren’t. Most of them don’t scan the foot and a half closest to the floor, so a robber can crawl on his stomach and pass by undetected. Make sure your detectors are aimed at the floor and position one at the foot of the stairs, which will keep the burglar to just one floor. Motion detectors cannot detect movement behind hiding places such as bushes and trees.
- Include garages in your home security. They contain lawnmowers, tires rims, bikes, motorcycles, cars. Passage doors and overhead doors should have the same level of protection as the entrance doors to your house. Once inside the garage, the criminal is out of sight.
- Just like when using your pin number at a store, cover your entry code when opening the garage door or house.
- Do not give free roam to contractors and their assistants.
- Remember that shed and detached garages may have valuable tools that need to be locked.
- Do not keep valuables in your vehicles. This includes smartphones, GPS, etc.
If you need to keep them in your car, even momentarily, lock them into the trunk to prevent opportunistic thefts. You should not leave registration and other valuable documents in the car, including identity documents that give name and home address information. You should not store the extra set of house keys in the car. Thieves will look for parking cash in various storage compartments including the ashtray. Remember, once they get into your car, they have access as well to everything in your trunk. Car dealerships recommend that you NOT lock your glove compartment….the
thieves will break into it even if you haven’t left anything valuable there. Don’t leave the car running on those cold, snowy days.
- Do not announce on FACEBOOK that your entire family is going on vacation. Somewhere you may have a photo of your house, your address, all kinds of details that thieves look for.
- If you are a collector, avoid proudly exhibiting the display near the window.
- Thieves look for wedding announcements and have been known to steal all the gifts during the date and time the family announced they are celebrating elsewhere.
- The first place robbers go is to the hallway or kitchen looking for wallets, keys, etc. and then to the master bedroom for money, jewellry and other valuables. Place your valuables in a safety deposit box.
- Be aware of your neighbourhood. Who is coming and who’s going.
- When you go on vacation, inform a neighbour of your departure and return dates. Place a hold on your newspapers. Where possible, cancel all deliveries. Arrange to have the lawn cut and walkways cleared. Use timers to activate lights at various intervals. Have a neighbour pick up mail.
For all the technology we use to keep us safe, sometimes the best deterrent is a watchful community. That’s why it’s important for SAHRA families to know your neighbours!
Thanks to SAHRA Member Debora Bergeron for preparing this article
The Toronto Police streetproofing program encourages you to teach your child:
1. His/her name, address, phone number
2. To Dial 9-1-1 in an emergency
3. To communicate with you when they feel unsafe or afraid
4. To keep you informed as to his/her whereabouts at all times
5. Never to admit to being alone in the home when answering the telephone
6. Never to invite strangers into the house or answer the door when alone
7. Never to approach or enter a stranger’s car or hitchhike
8. Never to travel or play alone- always be with friends
9. To trust their feelings and say “NO” to an adult if that adult wants them to do something that is wrong
10. Not to accept gifts from strangers
11. To tell you if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you
12. That no one has the right to touch any part of his/ her body that a bathing suit would cover
13. That if he/ she is being followed, or approached too closely, to run home or go to the nearest public place and yell for help
14. To report to your school authorities or a police officer, anyone who act suspiciously towards him/ her
15. Never to play in deserted buildings or isolated areas
16. Never to enter anyone’s home without your permission
17. To avoid taking shortcuts through parks and fields
18. Never to show his/her money and if attacked to give it up rather than risk injury
19. That a police officer is a friend who can always be relied upon when he/ she is lost or needs assistance