‘Po­ten­tial risk’ to GTA prompts in­creased po­lice pres­ence in Toronto

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - ONTARIO NEWS - PETER GOF­FIN

TORONTO — In­for­ma­tion about a “po­ten­tial risk” in the Greater Toronto Area led to an in­crease in po­lice pres­ence in Toronto’s down­town core on Thurs­day, but of­fi­cers in­sisted the pub­lic should not avoid any of the city’s at­trac­tions, prompt­ing con­fu­sion among some and anxiety in oth­ers.

Po­lice would not spec­ify what in­for­ma­tion they had re­ceived, or what their of­fi­cers were look­ing for, but said the sit­u­a­tion and their re­sponse were rel­a­tively com­mon oc­cur­rences.

“Toronto po­lice re­ceived in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing a po­ten­tial risk to pub­lic safety,” Act­ing Supt. Michael Barsky told re­porters while stand­ing just steps from the CN Tower, Rogers Cen­tre and Ri­p­ley’s Aquar­ium, all of which re­mained open.

“The po­lice pres­ence in this area is sim­ply to en­sure that the pub­lic can en­joy and come down to this area unim­peded and with­out any worry.”

Po­lice had tweeted at 9:30 a.m. that an “un­con­firmed, un­cor­rob­o­rated piece of in­for­ma­tion” about the GTA had led them to boost the num­ber of of­fi­cers down­town.

Shortly af­ter, On­tario Pre­mier Doug Ford’s of­fice said it was aware of the “un­sub­stan­ti­ated” report of a po­ten­tial threat in Toronto, and Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale tweeted that fed­eral agen­cies were aware of the sit­u­a­tion and ready to help if nec­es­sary.

The po­lice tweet sparked anxiety and con­fu­sion in sev­eral Toron­to­ni­ans.

“I think it’s kind of scary be­cause you know there’s a threat but you don’t know what it is,” said Nida Rafiq, who works across from Union Sta­tion, adding that she felt “para­noid” be­cause po­lice pro­vided so lit­tle in­for­ma­tion.

Oth­ers took to so­cial me­dia to ex­press their ner­vous­ness.

“The po­lice aren’t say­ing any­thing and scar­ing us,” one per­son tweeted.

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