Assault on a neighbour inspired a new neighbourhood watch
On a Saturday afternoon last fall,Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue resident DiDi Cameron was walking home after a run when she found out one of her neighbours had been attacked, slashed and stabbed in broad daylight.
“That afternoon, I was really nervous,” said Cameron. “I’m a single mom of three, but even if you were married with five kids, you would still be nervous that this person was lurking around.” Cameron contacted Const.Timothy Somers at Toronto Police Service, 53 Division to discuss ways they could make the community safer. She then went door to door, sharing her email address with neighbours and telling them that she was going to start a neighbourhood watch in a private, online Google group. “By that Sunday, I had 80 families join. They had all emailed me, and I was up and running on Monday,” said Cameron.
Her neighbourhood watch group now includes more than 400 families, and she’s been in touch with residents in Mount Pleasant, Forest Hill, Rosedale and Bathurst-Eglinton to create similar groups in those areas.
Although the idea for a neighbourhood watch group was triggered by an assault, much of the group’s focus is on auto theft, and home and car breakins.
“[The neighbourhood watch] has been absolutely instrumental in at least three arrests already in 2018 that would have never happened without it, simply because they got ahead of it with video and reported suspicious incidents that fit the category of somebody who was preparing for a break and enter,” said Const. Somers.
“There has been a steady number of assaults, and it can be half attributed to the fact that people are fighting back in robberies and not giving up their property.” — Police Constable Timothy Somers, 53 Division
DiDi Cameron started a neighbourhood watch in her area