Toronto had its 17th and 18th homicides of the year last night. Here's how a CTV Web story describes #17:
…around 10 p.m. Thursday, emergency crews attended to a man who had been shot in the stomach at an east end apartment building.A short report, another Toronto murder. Except this one happened in my apartment building, on my floor, 20 feet down the fall from my front door.
He later died after being rushed to Sunnybrook hospital. The name of the man, who was in his 30s, has not been released.
I don't exactly live in a high-end building, but I wouldn't have considered it a bad building either. It's a multicultural building, lots of new Canadians, lots of families. Low to mid income. There's a daycare on the ground floor, and an elementary school across the street. Just a 10 minute bus ride from work.
I've never felt unsafe there before. And my hall in particular has always been quiet, until a young couple moved in down the hall a few months ago that always seemed to have screaming fights, at the top of their lounges. One of them called the police out once.
I'd learned to tune them out, and I figured that it was just another fight when I heard some loud yelling last night while surfing the blogs on my laptop and half-watching hockey on the tv. My ears did perk-up a little when I heard what sounded like a bottle smashing followed by a bang.
I was more peeved at the thought of having to navigate broken glass in the morning in the hall though. I figured the bang, which didn't sound that loud, was just the door slamming. Door slams were a regular part of the fights I'd tuned out. It wasn't until later I learned it must have been a gun shot.
That was a little while later, when the lights started flashing out in front of the building, and paramedics and police officers descended on the hallway. As the story says, the guy was apparently alive when they wheeled him out but died later at Sunnybrook. Officers questioned the neighbors and I tried to get to sleep around 1:00 am.
I woke-up in the morning and got ready for work and eager to get the heck outta there, but hearing talking in the hallway I was a bit frightened to leave. I swallowed and did, finding six or more detectives and officers on folding chairs in the hallway having a meeting. Most of my hall was taped-off, all the fire doors caked with fingerprint powder, and a forensics van parked out front.
I got to work, did a Google news search, and found out that indeed, Toronto's 17th homicide happened 20 feet from my front door.
As I said, I've never felt unsafe in my home before. And I don't like it. I've blogged before about the disconnect between crime statistics, which are falling, and fear of crime, which is rising. While I still don't support "tough on crime" policies that don't actually prevent crime, I do understand now the feelings and the fears that many have. Falling or not, when it happens in your neighborhood its frightening.
What's the answer though? I don't know. There's no easy answers. For me though, it's to find a new place to live and sooner, rather than later. Anyone know any nice, affordable, safe communities in Toronto?
UPDATE: The Toronto Sun has a fuller account of the incident. (h/t Joanne) Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers