Alert – Aware – Share

As a resident and business owner in Toronto’s East End Riverside & Leslieville I (we) am always concerned with neighbourhood safety. Due to the recent incidents at The Bone House on Queen, Orchids Hair Studio, Restore Health, and various thefts and break-ins throughout the East End the Leslievlle BIA, which I’m happy to serve on as Marketing Chair and Board Member, decided to grab the bull by the horns and host Officer Rob McDonald for a Crime Prevention meeting at The Duke this morning.

It was interesting to find out that The Beach community had the highest number of calls into 911 but the lowest crime rate amongst the Queen East communities. Leslieville and Riverside however had the lowest number of calls to 911 but a much higher crime rate. This is understandable as the Beach has been highly engaged for much longer than Leslieville and Riverside. Our hoods have been going through some serious changes more recently and Officer Rob noticed a higher number of calls coming in to report potential crimes. This is good. It means the community is becoming more engaged and looking out for one another. The end result: calls go up, crime comes down. 

Should you approach a suspected criminal?

No! Remember, if you’re going to attempt to apprehend someone suspected of a crime it must be done while the crime is being committed, otherwise you open yourself up to potential charges. Remember that grocer near Chinatown a few years ago?

It was interesting to find out that The Beach community had the highest number of calls into 911 but the lowest crime rate amongst the Queen East communities. Leslieville and Riverside however had the lowest number of calls to 911 but a much higher crime rate.

What’s the hard-working shopkeeper to do?

BE AWARE – was the top focus of Officer Rob’s talk. Sounds simple but it’s true. As long as you manning your shop, it’s important to be alert and aware of people checking out your store, walking in, acting suspicious.

Keep your cell or a cordless on you at all times – Remember, all you have to do is dial 911. If you can’t talk or are in the middle of a struggle, the call will be recorded and officers dispatched.

Communicate – If something happens to your business, tell everyone around you. Check with other BIA’s to see if similar incidents have occurred. Never keep these things to your self. If the police can establish some sort of pattern, it will make it easier for them to apprehend the perp and get them behind bars.

Safe-word – Safe-words aren’t just for the bedroom any more 🙂 If you have a larger space with employees spread out, make sure you have a safe-word aka code word that can help other employees identify a problem and take action behind the scenes.

Clear sight-lines – Don’t cover all of your window space with signage. I know, you’re in business to make money and advertise your promotions and goods but try and keep a portion of your window space starting at the 4 foot mark up to the 6 foot. This way people and police can see in at all times. If a trouble is noticed, people can see and take action.

Action Items

  • Call 416-808-5519 and update your Night Listing. This is the address associated with your phone number. When you dial 911 and can’t talk. This will ensure the cops know where to come and save you. Do this right now!
  • If you’re worried about your home or business being potentially targeted by criminals, Officer Rob is generously offering personal site visits to your home or business to perform a “Safety Audit” you can tweet him or call 55 Division’s non emergency number to set this up. 
Office Rob is extremely active on Twitter and in various community Facebook groups and we sincerely appreciate his time and effort! Oh, and he says that Leslieville smells better than The Beach. Thanks Weston family 😉

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