Crime and Safety

Crime and Safety - An Update on the Toronto Police Service Modernization Plan

As our City continues to grow and change, so must our approaches to combatting crime and improving neighbourhood safety. While Toronto has been ranked the safest city in North America, community safety remains my top priority as your City Councillor for Ward 15 – Don Valley West.

In my May 2019 newsletter, I included an update on The Way Forward – Toronto Police Services' (TPS) comprehensive and transformational modernization plan. While my previous article focused on the creation of the Neighbourhood Policing Program (NPP), I want to provide you with additional information on the broader TPS modernization strategy.

The Transformational Task Force has created an Action Plan to improve the police force's operational structure by optimizing the use of technology to enhance capacity and capability in the force. Officers will be provided with mobile computer workstations, GPS systems, and smartphone mobile devices that will ensure they are fully connected to the communities they're working in. This update lends itself particularly well to the NPP, which will assign specialized officers to individual neighbourhoods so they can familiarize themselves with the unique needs of a community.

Mobile computer workstations will allow officers to remain active in the community while completing routine duties like paperwork and reports, rather than requiring them to commute back and forth from the Police Station. This initiative will improve response times and ensure that more officers are present in our neighbourhoods.

Finally, smartphone mobile technologies will eliminate the use of radios and paper note-taking, which are still widely used throughout the force. Officers will use mobile devices to return phone calls, send emails, and record information without returning to the station. Smartphones may also be used to take official photographs that can be used during investigations.

For more information and to read the full Action Plan, please visit the TPS website here.

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Thanks to the Lawrence Park Ratepayers' Association and The Neighbourhood Watch for hosting the Crime and Safety Meeting – it was great to engage with the community on such an important topic.

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Neighbourhood Policing Program

Toronto Police Services (TPS) is modernizing. As our city continues to grow and change – with no sign of slowing down – so, too, must our Policing strategies. Recognizing this, TPS and its Transformational Task Force have assessed the needs of our dynamic communities and created the Neighbourhood Policing Program (NPP).

The NPP is a modernized program that is neighbourhood-centric and aims to reduce crime by assigning specialized officers to individual neighbourhoods. This approach will “humanize the badge” and allow officers to familiarize themselves with the unique needs of each of Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods. In October, TPS announced plans to expand the NPP from a 96-officer pilot to a force-wide, transformational strategy.

While Toronto has been ranked the safest city in North America, I know crime and safety remains a top concern for the residents of Don Valley West. In the 2019 budget, City Council approved funding to hire more than 300 new officers to join the TPS ranks. This comes in addition to the 200 new officers we approved funding for in 2018 – meaning that there will be more than 500 new pairs of boots on the ground to ensure our communities remain safe.

Community Policing

In recent months, I have heard from a number of concerned residents about how the City can best address crime in our neighbourhoods. More than ever before, the City needs to examine how we organize and deliver policing services in Toronto so that members are able to effectively and sustainably meet the complex needs of our City.
 
Community policing is an important aspect of the City's efforts to keep residents safe. As a City Council, we are committed to continuing to make investments in neighbourhood-based policing initiatives. Between last year's committment and this year's budget proposal, the City will have hired an additional 500 uniformed police officers.
 
As the budget process unfolds, I will join my colleagues in calling for continued and additional funding to community policing initiatives.

Ward 25 Crime and Safety Meeting

Over the past few months, I've been contacted by several neighbours concerned about crime and safety in Ward 25. Toronto is currently ranked the safest city in North America, but I want to ensure that residents continue to feel safe and secure in our neighbourhoods. For this reason, I organized a forum to address local incidents and learn more about the long-term action plan for the Toronto Police Service (TPS).
 
More than 300 residents gathered at the Lawrence Park Community Church in February 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 our community.
 
The overarching concern expressed 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. You can find your local police division contact, here.

Above all, the TPS representatives emphasized the importance of community cooperation and reiterated their commitment to proactive policing in our neighbourhoods. I would encourage you to report any suspicious activity you observe, as the police use reporting data to direct resources.
 
All non-emergency situations and suspicious activity can be reported to 416-808-2222, or online

I was pleased to host a community safety meeting with Toronto Police officials, including Chief Saunders, to discuss local policing initiatives with Ward 25 residents. 

I was pleased to host a community safety meeting with Toronto Police officials, including Chief Saunders, to discuss local policing initiatives with Ward 25 residents.