A bout of break-and-enter robberies in Toronto’s north end has police on alert and requesting assistance from the community.
Toronto police set up a command post on Saturday at the Ledbury Community Centre, and started canvassing the area looking for information.
The rash of robberies started roughly eight months ago between Highway 401 and Eglinton Avenue, and from Avenue Road to Bayview Avenue.
Saturday’s command post was a bid to make the community aware of what police are doing to combat this ongoing problem.
Police were also knocking on doors hoping that residents in the area might have some information.
“We’re finding that many individuals in the community do have information, but don’t come forward because they don’t think it’s pertinent to the investigation,” said Investigator Tim Crone.
According to police, many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity; perpetrators are looking for any unlocked doors, open windows and disabled alarms.
“A lot of these break and enters — when we arrive on the scene — we find that a number of them are preventable. At least a residence can take steps to make them a less vulnerable target,” said Crone.
Police have identified two different types of groups committing these crimes. According to Crone, there's a more advanced group that is using higher-end equipment, and then random individuals seeking targets of opportunity.
“If they see a home that’s well secure and has alarm signs up, that’s well lit, and looks occupied, chances are they’re not going to identify that home and try to make entry into it,” said Crone.
Police believe the more organized group scouts out their targets well in advance and tracks the property’s patterns, and say the affected area has been targeted because of high-end properties and vehicles.
'It’s a target rich kind of environment.' - Tim Crone, Toronto police investigator.
“It’s a target rich kind of environment,” said Crone
The majority of incidences are daytime break-and-enters and police say they're trying to up police presence in the area.
Police want residents to be mindful of the items on their property, such as ladders, that could be used as aids in a robbery.
Toronto Police’s 32 Division is working in partnership with Durham, York and Peel police forces to put an end to this problem.
According to police, there has been some progress, but it's been a problem in the area for years.
Crone says police have made a few “significant arrests” and have a few more in their sights.
“We have individuals identified that we keep a close eye on. And there’s not a period of time that doesn’t go by that we’re not making arrests,” said Crone. “It’s a bit of a cat and mouse game at times.”