So, last night before the sun had even set, a man was shot 4 times on Danforth only a block away from where DECA was hosting a night for music in the park. The day before, a woman was stabbed near Danforth and Greenwood. A couple of months ago, a man was shot and killed in the early morning hours at Rotana Café near Coxwell. Clearly, our neighbourhood is a hotbed for crime…right?
I don’t know if that can be answered with a simple yes or no. When the Rotana shooting happened, police officers confirmed to the excellent local blog East End Pioneer that crime has actually been on the decline in our area. Good news overall, but when such high profile incidents occur, it’s hard not to be concerned for your own safety and the safety of your family, not to mention the overall impression of our neighbourhood. As most of us know, though, were you to walk down any of our streets, you’d find shady trees, people tending their gardens and large numbers of kids playing together (sometimes even unsupervised!). So, not exactly Little Compton.
But what do we do RIGHT NOW to combat these issues? While nothing is likely to change overnight, and I acknowledge that there are a ton of socioeconomic factors that are too complicated for me to delve into, here are 3 steps that we all can take to move towards a safer community:
- Get to know your neighbours. While this may seems obvious, if all of us hosted a barbeque or invited the neighbours to have a drink on your front porch, a community would be built. Even just making the effort to get to know your neighbours 2 houses down on either side, and the 2 houses that face yours would make a huge difference.
- Get involved with community organizations. Pooling our efforts and brainstorming how to act as a group means we have strength in numbers. And while being personally involved with community organizations is ideal, I recognize that it’s not always possible for everyone to commit the time or energy. If this is the case, there are multiple Facebook groups for each neighbourhood to keep everyone in the know. DECA (Danforth East Community Association) is a great place to start.
- See something, say something. I know many people feel like they’re bothering others by reporting minor incidents…don’t. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable, it’s highly likely that you’re not the only one. 54 and 55 Division (operating north of Danforth, and south of Danforth, respectively) have beefed up police presence, but the best way to ensure this continues is to let them know about any shady goings-on you may see.
I know this list is far from complete. But by banding together, we can make sure that the neighbourhood has the great reputation that it deserves.
Have any more suggestions on how to battle crime in the area? Leave them in the comments!