2018 a year of crime chal­lenges for Toronto

Res­i­dents look­ing for help to stem the tide of break-ins and auto thefts

North Toronto Post - - News - by Ron John­son RON JOHN­SON

The city has suf­fered through a year of the most aw­ful crimes imag­in­able, from the North York van at­tack and the Dan­forth shooter to the Leaside se­rial mur­ders and the Sher­man homi­cides. These in­ci­dents dom­i­nated head­lines and made us all feel less safe. But what about in our own back­yards? Peo­ple ri­fling through our ve­hi­cles and swip­ing pack­ages off our porches are nowhere near as dis­turb­ing, but when crime hits close to home we take it very se­ri­ously. To that end, we look back at the year in neigh­bour­hood crime and ask the ques­tion: Just how safe is our own back­yard?

Toronto is fairly safe for a large city. Ac­cord­ing to 2018 re­ports, we might not be the safest, but we are pretty darn close, bet­ter than other On­tario ci­ties such as Ottawa and Guelph and far bet­ter than other ma­jor ur­ban cen­tres Mon­treal and Van­cou­ver.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of crime in the city. There is plenty, es­pe­cially break­ing-an­den­ter­ings, rob­beries and auto thefts that seem to hap­pen no mat­ter what pre­cau­tions are be­ing taken.

That was on my mind as I went on a pa­trol with Avante home se­cu­rity, which surveils ar­eas like The Bri­dle Path, Rosedale and For­est Hill. The com­pany’s signs are ev­ery­where, along­side those of firms such as ADT, in these neigh­bour­hoods. If the city is re­ally so safe, these peo­ple have not re­ceived the memo.

As we travel the streets, pass­ing one of­fi­cer on pa­trol and an­other de­liv­er­ing a pack­age to a client, the driver spots an open back­yard gate out the cor­ner of his eye, and we pull over as he se­cures the perime­ter. All part of the ser­vice.

Em­manuel Mounou­chos, a Ry­er­son elec­tri­cal engineering grad­u­ate who grew up in East York, founded the firm in 1996.

Now that Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice has said it will no longer re­spond to home alarms with­out vis­ual con­fir­ma­tion, the home se­cu­rity busi­ness is boom­ing.

Al­though its busi­ness hinges on its guarangeed re­sponse time of less than six min­utes, Avante goes far be­yond what one might ex­pect. They use cur­rent tech­nol­ogy and an­a­lyt­ics to cre­ate a sen­sory bub­ble around each home. If some­one walks onto the prop­erty, they know about it and take steps im­me­di­ately.

Mounou­chos also of­fers ad­vice — from giv­ing chil­dren code words in case some­one un­known comes to pick them up from school, to mak­ing sure the lights are left on at all times, to tak­ing dif­fer­ent routes to and from work just in case. It’s fright­en­ing stuff.

The re­al­ity is that we are safe, but we could al­ways be safer.

In this edi­tion, we drill down into po­lice sta­tis­tics and re­ports of crime at the neigh­bour­hood level and look into car and home breakins, rob­beries, auto thefts and other com­mon types of crime.

We have beau­ti­ful fam­ily neigh­bour­hoods, let’s keep them safe.

Toronto Po­lice no longer re­spond to home alarms with­out vis­ual con­fir­ma­tion

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