Spadina private security the shame of Toronto's Tall Perfect Mayor
News Item: Spadina Merchants hire Intelligarde
If you drive on certain Toronto streets during daylight hours this year, you are bound to see Metro’s Finest, keenly serving their masters’ need for incremental speeding ticket revenue. When you run a budget deficit, every new dollar that doesn’t require a tax increase is the best kind.
Pick Mount Pleasant, Pottery Road or Moore Avenue, for example, and our crafty Men/Women in Black will be hiding behind poles, fences or stationed in bus shelters, laser speed gun at the ready. Gone are the days when a bright yellow Dodge police car sits at the side of the road with an X-Band radar gun affixed to a metal arm stuck out the patrol car window. We are now in a world of the Laser Ambush.
The “scourge” of speeding has been permanently reduced in these areas, at least among the regulars. But enough cars amble along at 17 or 18km/h over the limit to keep the Officers’ ticket books busy. Job well done. Even if our Court system overflows with motorists testing the limits of the Askov decision.
And while Torontonians will be relieved that the speeders are being frog marched off to court, there is a brewing concern that many other basic policing duties are being ignored. In 2007, for example, members of one Ratepayers Association complained to a very senior officer at 53 Division about a series of events that happened in a short period of time, all concentrated in a 4 block area of downtown:
1. A man gained access to a home using fake Enbridge I.D. during daylight hours. After a few minutes of this fellow walking around the main floor without any particular purpose, the owner got suspicious and called Enbridge; individual fled on foot.
2. Three attempted and one successful late night B&Es within a block of each other. One of which was an attempted forced entry through a patio door as a 9 month pregnant woman was on the other side, getting a drink of water at 2 a.m. in her kitchen (on the same street as #1 above). Another involved a man with a flashlight who was discovered sneaking around the main floor of a family home. A third was scared away when the home alarm was triggered at 5 a.m.
3. Drive-by pellet gun shooting to the head.
4. The same vehicle that was used in #3 was used in a random baseball bat attack on a doctor out for a late night walk; one block from incidents #1 and #2.
5. Several other homes were broken into between midnight and 6 a.m. and the keys were stolen for SUVs and luxury cars. Vehicles being targeted were BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Jag, Acura and Lexus.
The response from Metro Police was troubling, if not frightening. According to police records, most of these crimes never happened. At least we know why Mayor David Miller says the crime stats are dropping in Toronto. Metro Police aren’t tracking them all.
In the case of #1, the senior police boss said the resident was wrong, and that the individual really was an Enbridge employee. The complainant, who happens to be a Judge, disagreed and wondered why the “employee” fled on foot when a call was placed to Enbridge to verify his employment.
In situation #2, police had no record of one of the four events, and had mismarked another. There was no record of the pregnant woman’s call, even though seven police cars responded to the 2 a.m. 911 call. How is it possible that seven police cars, including a K-9 unit, could be dispatched anywhere to investigate a crime without a record of the attempted crime being kept? A second event was recorded by the rookie constable as an “unlocked” door, as there was no sign of forced entry as far as he was concerned; which meant it wouldn’t be recorded as an attempted crime. His superior eventually rewrote the report as an “attempted B&E”. Another 20-year plus officer allowed that he’d “never heard of the street before” the complaint.
In cases #3 and #4, the senior police officer hadn’t heard of either event, even though police and ambulances were involved in the treatment of both cases, and they’d happened on the same city street. How could this not come up in the morning Platoon briefing?
In case #5, Metro Police put out a Community Crime prevention bulletin, suggesting that residents take steps themselves to deal with the car theft problem. Suggestions included: placing a cellular telephone in your bedroom in event that your telephone lines are tampered with, leaving a ground floor light and radio on during the night, leaving the lights on outside, etc.
But, increased patrols and police visibility? Never happened.
Some neighbours in the areas of these very crimes will tell you that they haven’t seen a single patrol car, bicycle or foot patrol officer on their street in the 12 months that followed these events. Unless, of course, the City has hired a private contractor to repave the very street where incidents #3 and #4 took place. Then you’ll get two or three Officers on hand for an entire day to deal with traffic management. Must be a different budget at City Hall.
In response to some of the events above, and the lack of action from Metro Police or the Mayor, private security firms are seeing a brisk business as residents take matters into their own hands. For $30,000 a year, a private security guard will come to your home each hour between dusk and dawn. Night after night. One company boasts at least three new clients as a result of the events above. Other taxpayers have installed exterior camera systems; which is bad news for their neighbours, or course, as would-be thieves will just go to the next home down the block.
With this anecdotal backdrop, it can come as no surprise that other Toronto neighbourhoods are also fed up, and hiring their own private pseudo police forces to do what isn’t being done by the thousands of police employed by the City of Toronto.
Just like in Brazil.
While the Tall Perfect Mayor of Toronto fumes daily about the Island Airport, he’s blind and mute when it comes to the apparent collapse of the confidence that Torontonians once had in the ability of their police force to deal with the bread and butter of their job. Frustrated with the lack of basic police presence where it counts, the role is being contracted out to the private sector.
Where’s the Mayor and the Toronto Police Services Board? According to the President of the Toronto Police Association, they’re “missing in action”.
Amen to that.
For every would-be candidate for the next Toronto Mayoral race, here’s your issue. Handed to you on a silver platter by the sitting Mayor himself. It’s the shame of Toronto.