Surge in street robberies

Tuck away phones, iPods, police urge

Police are warning residents to keep an eye on their personal property and their surroundings after a recent surge in local youth-on-youth robberies.

On April 1, a community alert was sent out to residents of 33 Division, which polices an area bound by Victoria Park Avenue to the east, Steeles Avenue to the north, Bayview Avenue to the west and Eglinton Avenue to the south.

Staff Sergeant Rob Knapper said the robberies have tended to happen near high schools, namely the areas of Don Mills Road and Finch Avenue East, and Victoria Park Avenue and Cassandra Boulevard.

“The kids have their iPods, they have their BlackBerrys, they have the high-end technical stuff,” Knapper said.

“These kids will come up quite often and say ‘Hey, can I borrow your cellphone? I need to call my aunt, it’s an emergency.’

“And the minute they pull it out, (the suspects will) take it and take off.”

Knapper said there were around 10 such robberies in the last half of March, and while the thefts have not involved weapons, there is always the risk of violence.

He also said that thieves have been active on public transit, too.

There are things youth can do to ensure that they are not victimized, Knapper said.

“You want to listen to music on your iPod, but unfortunately it’s very visible especially if you keep pulling it out and changing songs,” he said. “So the best thing to do is try and keep it inconspicuous.

“I know it’s hard when you’re talking on your cellphone, but a lot of it is be aware of your surroundings.

“You don’t always have to be on your cellphone, you don’t always have to be texting.”

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Apr 7 2011 1:15 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto