Rise in as­saults has lo­cal res­i­dents on alert

Hill­crest com­mu­nity Face­book group re­ports mul­ti­ple in­ci­dents in one week

Midtown Post - - News - by Justin Bell­more

A spike in as­saults in the Hill­crest vil­lage neigh­bour­hood on St. Clair Av­enue West is leav­ing its res­i­dents on edge and wor­ried for their safety. Es­pe­cially con­cern­ing is that most of the vic­tims are women, ei­ther un­ac­com­pa­nied or with chil­dren.

A man who goes by the name Daniel Alex on Face­book is a physi­cian at Sun­ny­brook and Toronto Gen­eral hospi­tals. He posted to a Hill­crest Face­book group in early Oc­to­ber that his nanny and three-month-old son had been as­saulted at the Loblaws near the cor­ner of St. Clair West and Bathurst Street.

“A man, ap­prox­i­mately in his 60s, pushed [the nanny] from be­hind and started yelling and swear­ing at her,” Alex wrote. He stated in the post that some by­standers had in­ter­vened, pre­vent­ing the sit­u­a­tion from es­ca­lat­ing.

Mul­ti­ple com­pa­ra­ble posts were made, all in the span of a week, by other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity Face­book page. All the vic­tims were women, or women with chil­dren, in­clud­ing one re­port of as­sault on a woman and her child in a stroller. The per­pe­tra­tor in that in­ci­dent was re­port­edly caught soon af­ter it oc­curred.

In re­sponse, the lo­cal coun­cil­lor, Joe Mi­hevc, said that politi­cians don’t have the au­thor­ity to di­rect po­lice — only the abil­ity to in­form them.

“We have to wait for the re­sults of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” he said. “That’s why re­port­ing in­ci­dents im­me­di­ately, ev­ery time, is so im­por­tant. Po­lice need to as­sign re­sources, con­duct their in­ves­ti­ga­tions and catch a cul­prit.”

The Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice com­mu­nity re­sponse man­ager for that area, Sgt. Travers Wynne, told Post City that there has been an in­creased po­lice pres­ence in the area as a re­sponse to th­ese re­ported in­ci­dents, but he added that the so­lu­tion re­quires more than po­lice at­ten­tion.

“There has been in­creased vis­i­bil­ity of po­lice of­fi­cers in that neigh­bour­hood, but we still can’t af­ford to have that many pa­trolling units there 24/7,” he said.

Wynne also rec­og­nized that the po­lice-com­mu­nity rap­port in the vil­lage is mixed and that some cit­i­zens think they are bet­ter off with­out po­lice help. How­ever, he ac­knowl­edged the strength of the lo­cal com­mu­nity watch, both on the streets and on so­cial me­dia.

“I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate what they’re do­ing on Face­book,” he said. “It helps them, and it helps us get the facts for our in­ves­ti­ga­tions.”

“A man in his 60s pushed her from be­hind and started yelling and swear­ing.”

Site of a re­cent as­sault at Bathurst and St. Clair

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