New res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion forms after spike in lo­cal break-ins

Group says re­port­ing break-ins can be a chal­lenge for new im­mi­grants in the area

North York Post - - Contents - by Sa­man­tha Peksa

“Last month, be­fore we put the signs up, there were four or five break-ins in one week.”

After a rash of break-ins in the Bayview Av­enue and York Mills Road area, Chi­nese res­i­dents have taken it upon them­selves to form a neigh­bour­hood watch group to keep tabs on any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity.

Ap­prox­i­mately 800 lo­cals be­long to the Bayview York Mills Chi­nese Com­mu­nity (BYMCC), a res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion that is bor­dered by the 401 to the north, Les­lie Street to the east, Yonge Street to the west and Lawrence Av­enue East to the south.

Xiong Deng, co-founder of the BYMCC, said lan­guage bar­ri­ers are a prob­lem for many new im­mi­grants in the neigh­bour­hood. So the group de­cided to put up Neigh­bor­hood Watch signs to help with com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“Last month, be­fore we put the signs up, there were four or five break-ins in one week. One of the home­own­ers was home around 10 p.m. dur­ing one of the rob­beries. About a week later, two houses be­side that house were robbed,” said Deng. “In our neigh­bour­hood, a lot of new im­mi­grants’ hus­bands are still in China. So it’s the wife and the kids in the home, so this re­ally makes those peo­ple wor­ried.”

John Ni­cholls, from the York Mills Gar­dens Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion, said there have been re­cent break-ins near Fifeshire Road as well as on Heath­cote Av­enue, Old Colony Road and North­dale Road.

“They’re not all Chi­nese own­ers, but the ma­jor­ity of them are,” noted Ni­cholls. The BYMCC held a public meet­ing in Trin­ity Church last month to dis­cuss the se­ries of break-ins. Ap­prox­i­mately 100 peo­ple at­tended, along with ADT Se­cu­rity Ser­vices, Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice’s 32 and 33 Di­vi­sions and crime pre­ven­tions de­part­ments.

BYMCC has also started a group on WeChat, an app sim­i­lar to Face­book, that al­lows ev­ery­one in the neigh­bour­hood to com­mu­ni­cate. “We have a WeChat, and if any sus­pi­cious per­sons or cars are in our neigh­bour­hood, we will talk about it, and peo­ple who know English will call the po­lice,” said Deng. “We have a pretty good re­la­tion­ship with 33 Di­vi­sion. We also re­quested a few years ago for a Man­darin-speak­ing of­fi­cer. Now they have two of­fi­cers who speak Man­darin.”

Staff Sgt. Bryan Camp­bell with 33 Di­vi­sion said po­lice have been work­ing with res­i­dents to help home­own­ers make their home less at­trac­tive to peo­ple look­ing to break-in. “It can be as sim­ple as putting mo­tion lights or se­cu­rity cam­eras up,” Camp­bell said.

Xiong Deng stands with one of the area’s new Neigh­bor­hood Watch signs

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