Having Fun While Staying Safe

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 2:58 p.m. November 4, 2019

At the provincial Crime Prevention Week launch on November 4 at Humber College’s Lakeshore campus, fourth-year students in Criminal Justice program showcased a crime prevention initiative they created.

Men standing together, one dressed as cookie, another as a banana
Humber College Criminology & Policing Professor Doug Thomson (l) & Deputy Chief Peter Yuen with fourth-year students Daniel Mercieca, Jackie Luong, Kyle Burton, Michael Pilecki and Manvia Chahal

‘Crumb Prevention’ is a playful and fresh way to encourage safety at large events such as concerts and festivals.

The students collaborated with the Foodie Festival organizers to use the initiative to prevent jay walking at the fifth annual event in Rexdale.

“Crumb Prevention involves people dressed in fun suits and the purpose is to redirect event-goers to cross walks,” said Kyle Burton. “The cool thing about this initiative is that it is easily adaptable to different events. For the Foodies Festival, we suggest they use hot dogs, bananas and cookies.”

The program is patterned after the Zebras Urban project in Bolivia that was established in 2001 to get pedestrians to use cross walks to help reduce chaos in the city of La Paz.

“Programs like these demonstrate that crime prevention can be easy, fun and cost-effective,” added Burton. “We often think of crime prevention as a complicated thing, but it is not.”

The Ministry of the Solicitor General designated November 3-9 as Crime Prevention Week in Ontario.

“This week provides the opportunity to increase awareness about what communities and police services can do to keep Ontario neighborhoods safe,” said Etobicoke-Lakeshore Member of Provincial Parliament Christine Hogarth, who is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General. “It is also a time to showcase the successful partnerships police services have built with local community organizations to prevent crime and increase safety and well-being across the province. In this effort, there are many heroes – community members who help guide our youth and police who uphold the law and keep our communities safe.”

Hogarth said the Toronto Police Service is a terrific example of a police service that has truly embedded crime prevention and community partnerships as an integral piece of its approach to community safety and well-being.

“Their work to prevent crime and address the root causes of social disorder are as important as their efforts are to enforce the law,” she noted.

A woman at a podium
MPP Christine Hogarth speaks at the Crime Prevention Week kickoff at Humber College

Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said Crime Prevention Week is an opportunity for the Service and the community to get-together to celebrate neighbourhood policing and to talk about public safety and community well-being.

“Policing requires participation and collaboration from all sectors of the community,” he said.

Toronto Police Services Board Chair Jim Hart concurred with Yuen.

“This is a week for people to come together to talk about, take part in and find ways and solutions for crime prevention in our communities,” he said. “Crime Prevention is fundamental to building safe cities, but crime prevention can’t be left to the police alone. Communities and neighbourhoods also have a valuable role in this endeavor.”

Toronto Police and Humber College have collaborated on several projects, including the Neighbourhood Community Officer program that Humber has been instrumental in helping the Service with the training.

Several Humber College’s Police Foundations program graduates are TPS members.

Patrick Livingstone, who this year graduated from the program, is an outreach worker working on the frontline of the opioid crisis.

“Sitting at the weekly FOCUS meetings and seeing the wide variety of different organizations and stakeholders with very different aims collaborating together to try and navigate this crisis gives me hope for the future,” he said. “To truly prevent crime, we have to come together as a community and that is what I am starting to see happening downtown where I work.”

TPS crest watermark