A refurbished playground has been unveiled in the same spot where two young girls were wounded by gunfire thanks to a Crime Stoppers Toronto partnership.
On June 14, 2018, the children – ages nine and five at the time – were shot while playing in a park in Alton Towers in Scarborough.
The three suspects were arrested and charged for attempted murder.
On August 5, a new slide and two benches were unveiled at 10 Alton Towers Circle.
Toronto Crime Stoppers, in partnership with the BOLO program and funding from the Stephen Cretier Foundation, commissioned the refurbishment.
As part of their Community Reward program launched last year, Toronto Crime Stoppers is committed to identifying community improvement initiatives that enhance community safety.
“Instead of rewarding an individual tipster, we are now rewarding an entire community,” said Toronto Crime Stoppers Chair Sean Sportun. “Our efforts are geared towards opportunities that support crime prevention through community engagement or community improvement initiatives that work to enhance community safety and empower a movement of a crime-free Toronto.”
S/Supt. Randy Carter, of the Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit, was on hand to support the launch.
“The Toronto Service know and understand that for us to feel safe in the neighbourhoods we live, visit and play, we need to have a strong community and strong partnerships,” he said. “When there was a tragic event here two summers ago, this community bonded together and they worked with the Toronto Police Service to hold those people accountable that did terrible things. When I speak about partnerships, we know that we cannot keep Toronto the best and safest place to be without partnerships like Crime Stoppers who has stood beside us for a long time and create opportunities for people to help when things go bad.”
Maxime Langlois, the Director of the BOLO program and a member of the Toronto Crime Stoppers Board of Directors, said the slide and benches will help foster community.
“It was a sad and terrible day that left scars,” he said. “We can’t do much to erase what happened here in 2018… We want to bring happiness to children in this community.”
BOLO – Be On The Look Out – is a term that’s commonly used within the law enforcement community.
Administered by the Stephen Cretier Foundation, the BOLO program is an initiative leveraging social media and technology to make sure citizens are on the lookout for Canada’s most wanted so they can report sightings and submit tips to help the police arrest these wanted people. BOLO helped publicize a campaign that led to the arrest of one of the men responsible for the shooting that was sentenced to 13 years in jail.
Nirmala Sivagurunathan, who sits on the housing community Board of Directors and has been an Alton Towers resident for the last 12 years, welcomed the refurbishment.
“It makes a big difference here,” she said. “We had a yellow slide here, but that brought back bad memories of the afternoon the young girls were shot. The upgrade along with the addition of benches bring closure and our community can now move on.”
After the media conference, specially made ‘Alton Towers Superhero’ branded sweatshirts were presented to young people in the Scarborough community. The youths also received a pizza lunch.