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Higher crime rates in 14 Division

January 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

Rise attributed to Entertainment District

By Geremy Bordonaro

Rapid population growth and the proliferation of night clubs within the ever-expanding Entertainment District appear to have led to an increase in crime last year in 14 Division, but that trend has not migrated to the Annex.

According to the Toronto Police Service’s year-end report, violent crime increased by 7 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015 for the division, which includes the Gleaner’s coverage area and spans from Dupont Street south to the lake and Spadina Avenue west to Dufferin Street. Violent crime — including murders, robberies, and theft over $5,000 — was up by only 1 per cent for the rest of the city. Reports of sexual assaults within the division were the exception, decreasing from 169 to 140 incidents.

“Down in our traditional entertainment district, the King/Spadina area, assaults and violence tend to be linked and fuelled by alcohol consumption,” said Detective Sergeant Brian Kelly. “It’s just the way it is. It’s been that way since alcohol has been in existence.”

He notes that areas like the Annex remain relatively stable.

“The Annex is a safe area to live, work, and play,” Kelly said. “Does crime happen there? Absolutely. But we get on it as fast as we can…. It’s a safe place. There’s no disproportionate rise or decrease in crime in that area.”

Police Constable Iris Fleckeisen, 14 Division’s crime analyst, agrees that this year’s statistics aren’t alarming.

“It’s not just looking at the numbers and comparing them from year to year, but putting them into a context to understand what our standard deviation is and what we as a service accept as awry,” she said. “We’re alarmed when there is a huge increase in numbers. We didn’t see that this year.”

Community members like Gus Sinclair, chair of the Harbord Village Residents’ Association, haven’t noticed much in terms of crime during the last year.

“Typically we don’t get people reporting a lot. I’d say maybe two or three times a year. I don’t think last year was anything special,” Sinclair said. “There’s usually a rash of graffiti and little rushes of bicycles being stolen off of porches. Occasionally you’ll find a couple of [break and enters]. I don’t think we’ve had anything special last year.”

Sinclair thinks that though people sometimes hear about terrible crimes happening, this doesn’t mean that it will happen to them.

“You don’t want to build off a single incident, or two, because it tends to panic people.”



NEWS: Crime down overall in 14 Division (March 2016)

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