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Author Topic: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?  (Read 870 times)

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socafighter

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What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« on: September 02, 2014, 10:15:36 AM »
What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
Crime is down in Toronto. There's much debate about why, but Toronto police hope some summer initiatives have helped make the city safer.



AARON HARRIS / TORONTO STAR
51 Division Constables Robyn Court, left, and Brent Larmour, right, speak with people near Seaton House, Toronto's largest homeless shelter. Experts are struggling to explain why the crime rate is down in Toronto and the rest of Canada, but police hope the trend is at least partially related to summer crime prevention programs in neighbourhoods identified as high-crime areas.

By: Wendy Gillis News reporter, Published on Tue Sep 02 2014

It is midday and uncharacteristically quiet along one of Toronto’s notoriously crime-ridden strips.
Only a smattering of regulars have congregated outside a row of abandoned houses under overcast August skies, down the street from Seaton House, the city’s largest homeless shelter. Some are evidently high — agitated, speaking in rapid-fire bursts — while others sit calmly on the curb, sharing a plastic juice bottle that leaves their breath smelling of alcohol.
This downtown stretch of George St., between Gerrard and Dundas Sts. E., is home to a thriving drug trade and a high rate of violent crime. Prostitution and heavy substance abuse prevail. Some locals call the strip the Green Mile.
“Because hangin’ here is death row,” says Leighton Harper, 42, who says he’s lived much of his life along George St.

In front of an abandoned brick home, he points out the metal fence left collapsed in the aftermath of the July shooting death of 36-year-old Rala Federick, a George St. staple.
But citywide, the kind of violence that wrought Federick’s death is the exception this summer, his homicide only one of a few incidences of deadly violence in a comparatively calm June, July and August in Toronto.

As the summer months — which typically play host to a spike in crime, particularly shootings — wind down this weekend, internal Toronto police statistics show drops in crime in key areas.
In addition to a 2 per cent decline overall year to date, there has been a drop in gun violence: Compared to this time last year, the number of total shootings are down (18 per cent), as is the tally of gunfire involving injuries (23 per cent).

The city has also seen a 30 per cent decline in homicides for the year leading up to Aug. 31. This weekend’s beating death of a 40-year-old man outside Ossington subway station marked the city’s 28th homicide; by Aug. 31 last year, that number had reached 40. During Toronto’s Summer of the Gun in 2005, the homicide tally was at 51 by Aug. 31.
The relative quiet is part of a broader trend of declining crime rates across Canada and in many Western countries, one that crime experts have long been struggling to explain.


Canada’s crime rate falls, as homicides hit lowest level since 1960s
Toronto police acknowledge there’s no simple explanation, and that crime rates high and low are affected by factors outside of their control.
But there is also hope that summer crime-prevention programs are playing a part in increasing safety on the city’s streets, even the ones most prone to crime.

What makes crime rates decline?

For the tenth consecutive year, Statistics Canada’s most recent Crime Severity Index — which measures the number and severity of crimes reported to police — showed a drop from the previous year.
In 2013, there was a nine per cent overall decline from 2012 figures. The report also put Canada’s homicides that year at 505, or 1.44 victims per 100,000 population, the lowest level since 1966.
Crime has been consistently dropping across Canada since the mid-1990s, a trend also found in many other Western countries. In the United States, violent crime dropped more than 70 per cent between 1993 and 2011. The United Kingdom has seen dramatic drops in violent, personal and property crimes over the last 20 years.

“It’s a fascinating phenomenon, especially since it’s so widespread,” said Rosemary Gartner, professor of criminology at the University of Toronto. “Criminologists have been struggling to come up with a coherent explanation for a few years.”
Theories range from connecting high crime to lead poisoning — exposure to the metal can alter the human brain, affecting impulse control which leads to crime, the theory goes — to increased access to abortion.

The latter idea was put forward by Freakonomics author and economist Steven Levitt. Crime, he wrote, was statistically more likely to be committed by 18 to 24-year-old males, and he suggested that the legalization of abortion in the U.S. in 1973 meant there were fewer unwanted children in that age group in 1993, when the crime drop began in the States.
Another theory, often used to explain the decline in violent crime in New York City, is zero-tolerance policing implemented in the 1990s, also known as the “broken windows” theory. Police increased enforcement of seemingly minor offences, aiming to produce a domino effect on major crime.

“The whole idea of a broken window was that it sends the message that people don’t care, and therefore encourages littering and a whole set of minor disorders that in turn attract more illegal activity,” Gartner said.
Irvin Waller, a University of Ottawa criminologist, says a drop in homicides can be associated with increased female independence.

The rates of domestic killing of women — who are statistically more likely to be killed by someone they know — have declined since a spike in the 1970s, Waller said. That coincides with increased employment opportunities that allow women, less dependent on their spouse for financial support, to leave an abusive relationship. (Increased resources for abused women, such as women’s shelters, combined with the growing acceptance of divorce has also reduced violence, Waller said.)

Among the more convincing explanations for the falling Canadian crime rate is that an aging population will see a decline in crime. Young men aged 15 to 24 are statistically most likely to commit a property or violent crime. Thanks to the baby boom in the mid-1940s to 1960s, there has been a greater percentage of the Canadian population that is older than 30 since the 1990s, thus less likely to commit crime.
Weather, too, is sometimes believed to be a factor in crime rates. Criminologists have long examined the connection between temperatures and crime, with some evidence suggesting crime can increase when the mercury rises.

Peter Sloly, deputy chief of Toronto police, said the opposite is true, too, referencing last year’s harsh, chilly winter.
“We did see periods of time where we had really bad weather and people just weren’t out. So the types of crimes that get committed in public spaces were significantly reduced,” he said.
Complicating matters further is the fact that calculating the crime rate is itself a complex and imperfect science. Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index is based only on crimes reported to police, meaning figures largely depend on the willingness of Canadians to come forward as victims or witnesses.

Providing a fuller picture, some experts say, is Statistic Canada’s General Social Survey on Victimization, which directly surveys Canadians about their experience of crime, rather than gathering information from police.

According to the 2009 GSS — the most recent available — only 31 per cent of crimes that occurred in the year before the survey were reported to police.
But Waller says the usefulness of the GSS is hampered by its infrequency. In Canada, the GSS is only done every five years, “which is straight outrageous. Any civilized country does it every year.” The U.S. has been conducting an annual survey, equivalent to Canada’s GSS, since 1972. Britain also uses a similar survey every year.
Shootings spawn new policing tactic

In 2012, two disarmingly public shootings rocked Toronto in the span of just six weeks: the June 2 Eaton Centre shooting, which killed two people and injured six, and the July 16 Danzig St. shootout — the worst mass shooting in Toronto’s history — which left two dead and injured 20.
In response, Toronto police launched what they dubbed the “summer safety initiative,” a seven-week project that added the equivalent of more than 300 officers on the street through the implementation of mandatory overtime.

A defining feature of the summer initiative was an increased emphasis on “old-school policing,” Sloly said at the time. That meant officers getting out on the street, usually in high-crime areas, and building relationships with residents and the community. For some, it marked the first time they had walked a beat.
The seven-week, $2-million police blitz produced results. Compared to the same period combined over seven years from 2005 to 2012, there was a decline in shooting deaths, down to two from the average, 6.4.

“What we learned out of that was putting officers out to neighbourhoods . . . where they are very visible, and very engaged with the local community in a proactive way, could help to reduce crime that had spiked up and then, more importantly, keep crime suppressed over a longer period of time,” Sloly said in a recent interview.

He stressed that multiple players — the city, non-profits, volunteers, youth outreach workers, community organizations, and more — have played a part in reducing Toronto’s crime rate. He also credits other Toronto police initiatives, including a new victim and witness support program.

But Sloly said the “centrepiece” of the force’s crime prevention strategy is the Neighbourhood Officers program, which grew out of the 2012 summer initiative.
By analyzing crime data, police identified so-called hot spots — high-crime areas — across the city. Then last year, police began assigning four neighbourhood officers to the areas. Their aim is to build relationships with residents, producing insights into the community’s needs and improved intelligence about local crime. The tactic is a shift away from solely enforcement-based policing — that is, slapping on handcuffs and handing out tickets.

All of Toronto’s 17 police divisions now have at least one Neighbourhood Officers program, and a handful have two. Every neighbourhood officer is dedicated to their specific area for at least two years.
“These aren’t quick fixes,” Sloly said. “These are the same four officers, every single day, going in and reconnecting with people, revisiting old problems, finding new problems and looking for longer term solutions.”
Sloly said there’s a similar goal for the neighbourhood Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) officers — something many would perceive as a departure for the controversial initiative.

TAVIS, which is provincially funded, was established after the 2005 “summer of the gun.” The specialized Toronto police unit enters violence-prone areas of the city, aiming to connect with regular people and gather intelligence.
Some high-profile incidents, including arbitrary stops and searches, left some people distrustful of the teams. A Star investigation found that TAVIS officers on average stop, question and document people — a procedure known as “carding” — at a higher rate than regular officers in any division.

Although Sloly has defended TAVIS as being equally about crime prevention, it is more commonly associated with enforcement.
The summer TAVIS program, known as the Neighbourhood Tavis Initiative (NTI) moves to different areas of the city based on crime density. Since June it has been operating in 51 Division, which covers the area from Wellesley south to Queen, and from Church east to Parliament. The area was chosen after an analysis of crime rates showed it has among the highest numbers of calls in the city for shootings, robberies and violence.

Nearly 30 officers divided into four teams patrol specific sections of the division that are most prone to crime, including Allan Gardens, Moss Park, the Sherbourne St. corridor and George St.
Officers patrol problem areas — back alleys known for drug use, parks where fights break out. They also stop into highrises, knocking on units known as drug dens, checking in on residents, some of whom police say are addicts or mentally ill, and can be taken advantage of by dealers.
Joan Cooper, a 20-year resident of a Sherbourne St. highrise, says her building has problems with prostitution in the stairwells, drinking in the lobby and drug paraphernalia scattered on the grounds outside. She likes being able to talk with the officers about local problems, though she asks them not to call her by name in the street, to avoid looking too cosy.

“They’re around a lot more now, which I think is great. They should be visible all year round,” she said.
But not everyone is in favour of the additional policing. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), alongside several other community groups, protested the increased officer presence when the NTI project launched in June. The money used to increase policing would be better spent on housing, shelter, food, and employment, the groups said.
“This community is suffering, and it’s not suffering from lack of policing. It’s suffering from a lack of basic resources,” Danielle Koyama, a member of OCAP, said in a recent interview. She suggested the initiative failed to cut down on violent crime, noting that shootings still took place in the area this summer.

Indeed, exactly how successful neighbourhood policing initiatives have been in Toronto is being probed by an independent research team at Humber College. Researchers will use community survey results and major crime trends to help gauge the effectiveness of the Neighbourhood Officers program, and are aiming to release a report early next year.

In terms of the 51 Division’s NTI success, Sloly said gains have been made, but much work remains. Among some possible next steps is establishing a Neighbourhood Officers program specific to 51 Division to carry on the NTI work conducted there this summer.
On George St., both the progress made, and the long road ahead, is evident. NTI officers patrolling the strip chat easily with the small group of regulars, a few calling each other by first names.
“They are coming around too often. We got no drug dealers to buy from!” jokes Tina Roberto, smiling at Const. Robyn Court.

Asked what he thinks of the increased patrol along the Green Mile, long-time resident Leighton Harper said he had to acknowledge “the elephant in the room.” Just because it may seem calmer on the street when police come by, he said, doesn't mean criminal activity has ceased.
“They know what’s going on,” he said of the police. “As long as we don’t throw it in their face. They've got their job to do, we've got our life to live.”


socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 10:16:53 AM »


Lets hear Bakes comments.... :rotfl:

socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 10:18:31 AM »


This cant work in T&T , dem cops to fat and lazy ...you get them to walk no way...
the sun to hot for them lazy arses... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Offline elan

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 01:23:16 PM »


This cant work in T&T , dem cops to fat and lazy ...you get them to walk no way...
the sun to hot for them lazy arses... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

What does fat have to do with being lazy?

Plus that have nothing really to do with policing. T&T police is not really set up to walk so they don't. If policing is set up where police need to walk and ride bikes then it will happen.

I bet you money that T&T Police Training is Physically tougher than Toronto's Police training. That however does not make a great policing unit.
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socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 01:36:51 PM »


This cant work in T&T , dem cops to fat and lazy ...you get them to walk no way...
the sun to hot for them lazy arses... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

What does fat have to do with being lazy?

Plus that have nothing really to do with policing. T&T police is not really set up to walk so they don't. If policing is set up where police need to walk and ride bikes then it will happen.

I bet you money that T&T Police Training is Physically tougher than Toronto's Police training. That however does not make a great policing unit.


Have you seen the pictures of some of the People in T&T police Force...

They cannot chase any criminal ... look at the mangement some can hardly walk.

They are fat and lazy.... some can hardly write a statement for the Judges to read.

How many times have you read , where peeps are saying where are the police ?

Comparing Toronto Police force to any thing T&T produces is laughable...

Check how many crimes are solved ..Toronto cops work at this..
that should end this discussion.




Offline Bakes

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 04:14:51 PM »


Lets hear Bakes comments.... :rotfl:

You are older than me, and not only that, but you are also a woman.  I have no interest in any kind of personal back and forth with you.  Don't let Tireasis chain you up into making an ass of yourself in the manner that he has become so proficient at doing.

socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 06:30:26 PM »


Lets hear Bakes comments.... :rotfl:

You are older than me, and not only that, but you are also a woman.  I have no interest in any kind of personal back and forth with you.  Don't let Tireasis chain you up into making an ass of yourself in the manner that he has become so proficient at doing.

I am interested in reading all opinions , its how I learn. Age and being a woman should not be part of such a dialogue, I fail to see your point by such a comment .
Tireasis  will not influence me , I value  opinions sent my way, it helps me see the other side.
I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of
conflicting points of view, he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.

You seem to have issues , I hope you get help .

« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 06:58:06 PM by socafighter »

Offline Jumbie

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 05:37:15 AM »
What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
Deportees!

Caribbean nations are experiencing an increase.

socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 07:40:54 AM »
What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
Deportees!

Caribbean nations are experiencing an increase.


If you are aware that  if caught you will be deported , why engage in such activities.
The majority are those that over stay their visas...


Offline elan

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 09:57:59 AM »


This cant work in T&T , dem cops to fat and lazy ...you get them to walk no way...
the sun to hot for them lazy arses... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

What does fat have to do with being lazy?

Plus that have nothing really to do with policing. T&T police is not really set up to walk so they don't. If policing is set up where police need to walk and ride bikes then it will happen.

I bet you money that T&T Police Training is Physically tougher than Toronto's Police training. That however does not make a great policing unit.


Have you seen the pictures of some of the People in T&T police Force...

They cannot chase any criminal ... look at the mangement some can hardly walk.

They are fat and lazy.... some can hardly write a statement for the Judges to read.

How many times have you read , where peeps are saying where are the police ?

Comparing Toronto Police force to any thing T&T produces is laughable...

Check how many crimes are solved ..Toronto cops work at this..
that should end this discussion.





Again you mis the point. It is not about being fit perse (I will tell you again that T&T police physical training is harder than Toronto and you have to pass it. I have a friend who died in training trying to lift the required weight for entry).

Try figure out why policing maybe better in Toronto than T&T and come again. Physical appearance has nothing to do with it.
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socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 10:33:28 AM »


This cant work in T&T , dem cops to fat and lazy ...you get them to walk no way...
the sun to hot for them lazy arses... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

What does fat have to do with being lazy?

Plus that have nothing really to do with policing. T&T police is not really set up to walk so they don't. If policing is set up where police need to walk and ride bikes then it will happen.

I bet you money that T&T Police Training is Physically tougher than Toronto's Police training. That however does not make a great policing unit.


Have you seen the pictures of some of the People in T&T police Force...

They cannot chase any criminal ... look at the mangement some can hardly walk.

They are fat and lazy.... some can hardly write a statement for the Judges to read.

How many times have you read , where peeps are saying where are the police ?

Comparing Toronto Police force to any thing T&T produces is laughable...

Check how many crimes are solved ..Toronto cops work at this..
that should end this discussion.





Again you mis the point. It is not about being fit perse (I will tell you again that T&T police physical training is harder than Toronto and you have to pass it. I have a friend who died in training trying to lift the required weight for entry).

Try figure out why policing maybe better in Toronto than T&T and come again. Physical appearance has nothing to do with it.


Someone who dies during the physical phase proves nothing , could be a birth defect , not
detected....look at soccer players , basketball player collapsing suddenly...

If one is overweight and fat ...obviously physical appearance counts it means he cant chase any one and catch them ..

Check out some of the T&TPF  when they post pics ...especially the brass ...they are not
in physical shape...











Oh yea some of them in the pictures look like they are in great shape ..sigh ...


Offline Feliziano

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2014, 07:00:16 PM »


Lets hear Bakes comments.... :rotfl:

You are older than me, and not only that, but you are also a woman.  I have no interest in any kind of personal back and forth with you.  Don't let Tireasis chain you up into making an ass of yourself in the manner that he has become so proficient at doing.

I am interested in reading all opinions , its how I learn. Age and being a woman should not be part of such a dialogue, I fail to see your point by such a comment .
Tireasis  will not influence me , I value  opinions sent my way, it helps me see the other side.
I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of
conflicting points of view, he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.

You seem to have issues , I hope you get help .


Socafighter that is trolling.

Bakes showed incredible restraint by not blazing yuh arse lol
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socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2014, 07:39:07 PM »


Lets hear Bakes comments.... :rotfl:

You are older than me, and not only that, but you are also a woman.  I have no interest in any kind of personal back and forth with you.  Don't let Tireasis chain you up into making an ass of yourself in the manner that he has become so proficient at doing.

I am interested in reading all opinions , its how I learn. Age and being a woman should not be part of such a dialogue, I fail to see your point by such a comment .
Tireasis  will not influence me , I value  opinions sent my way, it helps me see the other side.
I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of
conflicting points of view, he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.

You seem to have issues , I hope you get help .


Socafighter that is trolling.

Bakes showed incredible restraint by not blazing yuh arse lol

Trolling....say what ?
See you missed our brief discussion on another Thread... :rotfl:

Offline elan

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2014, 09:39:08 PM »


This cant work in T&T , dem cops to fat and lazy ...you get them to walk no way...
the sun to hot for them lazy arses... :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

What does fat have to do with being lazy?

Plus that have nothing really to do with policing. T&T police is not really set up to walk so they don't. If policing is set up where police need to walk and ride bikes then it will happen.

I bet you money that T&T Police Training is Physically tougher than Toronto's Police training. That however does not make a great policing unit.


Have you seen the pictures of some of the People in T&T police Force...

They cannot chase any criminal ... look at the mangement some can hardly walk.

They are fat and lazy.... some can hardly write a statement for the Judges to read.

How many times have you read , where peeps are saying where are the police ?

Comparing Toronto Police force to any thing T&T produces is laughable...

Check how many crimes are solved ..Toronto cops work at this..
that should end this discussion.





Again you mis the point. It is not about being fit perse (I will tell you again that T&T police physical training is harder than Toronto and you have to pass it. I have a friend who died in training trying to lift the required weight for entry).

Try figure out why policing maybe better in Toronto than T&T and come again. Physical appearance has nothing to do with it.


Someone who dies during the physical phase proves nothing , could be a birth defect , not
detected....look at soccer players , basketball player collapsing suddenly...

If one is overweight and fat ...obviously physical appearance counts it means he cant chase any one and catch them ..

Check out some of the T&TPF  when they post pics ...especially the brass ...they are not
in physical shape...











Oh yea some of them in the pictures look like they are in great shape ..sigh ...



Yuh still eh get it eh. I will l leave yuh to try and figure it out.
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socafighter

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Re: What’s behind the trend of declining crime rate in Toronto?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2014, 08:25:32 AM »


Dem all fatso...

Nutting to get ..so ..hehehehe   :rotfl:
« Last Edit: September 05, 2014, 08:27:08 AM by socafighter »