JRA attends meeting of the West Toronto Crime Task Force
The first official meeting of the West Toronto Crime Task Force was held on Monday, October 20. I, Ken Clements and Rob Playter were present.
Councillors Cesar Palacio, Ward 17 and Frances Nunziata, Ward 11 were elected as chairs. Also in attendance were Mark Grimes, Ward 6, Giorgio Mammoliti, Ward 7, Frank Di Giorgio, Ward 12 and Bill Saundercook, Ward 13.
Chief Bill Blair was in attendance with representatives of three police divisions. Toronto Fire was also represented.
The meeting began with introductions and comments from the Councillors and Police. They explained that this Task Force was intended to be a collaborative effort between City Services and residence. Working together would help identify a plan of action, speed the effort and target specific areas of concern.
The floor was then open for residents to pose questions and make comments. Most of the conversation revolved around the Keele and Eglinton area from residence and business owners concerned about violence, shootings, suspected illegal apartments above stores and drug trafficking, and the need for increased police presence on foot.
The general tone of the residents that chose to speak seemed to us to be one of placing blame for things being the way they are due to an alleged lack of adequate community policing and a flawed justice system. I took the opportunity to speak as well. I felt compelled to suggest that residents need to participate with this new initiative. I mentioned that we had recently resurrected our Residence Association, that the local police were accessible and interested in working with us and that as a cohesive group we could accomplish much more than individuals. I urged the members of the audience to consider joining their local RA or start one if none existed.
As mentioned above this meeting was intended as a meet and greet. There were no specifics mentioned as to how the Task Force would operate moving forward with specific groups or areas of West Toronto. Boundaries were not identified. We were not even sure at the beginning of the meeting that the area bounded by the JRA would be included due to the fact that 11 Division was not represented. In speaking with Suzana Fernandes (Special Assistant to Councillor Saundercook) we were assured that members of 11 Division would be present at the next meeting. I believe the boundaries include Wards 7, 11, 12, 13 and 17.
The next meeting will be held on January 12, 2009 at 7pm on the second floor of the York Civic Centre