With the weather getting warmer, Kevin Lee’s spirits are lifting. He’s much happier these days.
There is another reason for him to feel good at this time of the year.
For the next 10 weeks, there will be an increased police presence in Chinatown.
“Normally, I feel safe and, if anything happens, the police always respond promptly,” said Lee, day-shift manager at the House of Gourmet on Dundas St. W. near Huron St.
“It’s, however, good that we see more of them as people begin to come out more and business picks up.”
Project Blue Monkey – this is the year of the Monkey and blue is the Toronto Police Service colour -- started on April 11 and will focus on theft from autos, panhandling, public intoxication and other crime prevention issues.
“As the weather is getting nicer, people start to come out, shop more and fill their cars,” said Superintendent Dave McCormack, the 52 Division Unit Commander.
This is a very dynamic and thriving neighbourhood that serves Toronto. We have businesses and tourists and all of these things make Toronto great. It’s important for me that this continues to be a safe environment for people to live in and work and for people to come and visit and spend money.
This is the sixth year for the high-visibility police project.
“The purpose of this project, year after year, is to ensure that we send a message to the people in Chinatown that it is safe and that the Toronto Police appreciates you and cares about you,” said McCormack.
“So, what you will see in Chinatown is an increased presence of uniformed police officers throughout the day and throughout the evenings, to ensure we are addressing those quality-of-life crimes.”
The project is undertaken, annually, in partnership with the Chinatown Business Improvement Area.
“This is a two-pronged approach,” McCormack added.
“We are the enforcement end of the stick. We are also the high-visibility end, but we rely on our partners to be the educational component. So, they get out into the businesses and the neighbourhoods and they spread our message about crime prevention.”
BIA chair Tony Yu said his association relishes working with the police.
“This project will make what is already a safe community even safer and stable,” he noted.
In addition to the crime prevention aspect, police will conduct workshops and make presentations to raise awareness for seniors in the Chinatown community.