Police officers in 55 Division set up shop on the Danforth in order to hear from the community.
Officers will be in front of the Canadian Tire (2681 Danforth Ave.) near Main St., every Wednesday afternoon between 3-5 p.m., to listen to residents’ concerns and share crime-prevention information.
“This is an opportunity for us to have a face-to-face dialogue with people who might not otherwise have access to social media and are not on our Twitter and Facebook feeds,” said Constable Jonathan Morrice, the Division’s Crime Prevention Officer, of their Pop-Up Cop Shop. “It’s not restricted to any specific event like break-and-enter or robbery. Anything anyone wants to talk about is fair game. We know that some people might not feel comfortable coming to our town hall meetings or the police station, so we have come to a place where they might feel more comfortable. It's all about community outreach and going where the people are.”
Residing in the city’s east end for almost four decades, Aubyn Eversley has noticed an increase in crime in his Danforth Ave. and Main St. community in the last few years.
“There is a lot of crime taking place in this neighbourhood now and we certainly need more police presence around here,” he said, happy to see officers highly visible.
“Their presence here is a relief for me and residents,” he said. “It’s great that they are visible here and we can approach them with some of our concerns.”
In the last few months, there have been several shootings outside bars on Danforth Ave.
“That’s one of the reasons why we chose this location, because there have been some issues along this stretch,” Morrice said. “We also have an ongoing partnership with the security personnel here at Canadian Tire and, when we reach out to them about the idea of a pop-up shop, they were very supportive.”
There is no term-limit to the pop-up shop.
“This is something we are going to keep doing weekly as long as it is successful,” added Morrice, who joined Toronto Police 15 years ago and has been with 55 Division since 2008.
Joanne Szulc, who was shopping with young son Colin, spent a few minutes at the pop-up shop.
“You just feel a sense a security when you see police officers out in your neighbourhood,” she said. “I am absolutely glad to see them here.”
Friends Nedat Dahir and Mareg Bira agreed.
“We enjoy having the police officers around here because it makes us feel safe,” said Bira.
Iesha Patterson said she is delighted to see the cops in the area.
“It’s a good feeling,” she noted.
Sergeant Gary Olson joined Morrice at the outdoor event.
“This neighbourhood has had some challenges, so it’s good that we are out here to provide some community outreach about crime prevention,” he said,
Olson, who was promoted to Sergeant in 2004, lives in the community.
“I know all the players and they know me well,” the Community Response officer added. “This is my home and I want to ensure that it’s a safe place for everyone.”