This article was extracted from the Toronto Police Service website: www.torontopolice.on.ca/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=5267&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
Police services across Ontario are calling on the government to provide officers with the tools they need to reunite victims of break-and-enters with their stolen property, which often winds up in pawn shops, second-hand goods stores and flea markets.
At a recent press conference, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) released details on their 2011 Crime Prevention Campaign, which said police leaders are renewing their call to the provincial government to update the century-old Pawnbrokers Act.
“We have been calling on successive provincial governments to update the hopelessly outdated Pawnbrokers Act so that our officers could do what law-abiding citizens want us to do when they respond to break and enters and that is investigate the crime, use modern investigative tools to locate stolen property and reconnect victims with that property,” said Deputy Chief Kim Derry, chair of the OACP Crime Prevention Committee.
The campaign’s theme, titled – Break and Enter – It Shatters More than Glass – provides all police services across the province with public education materials which they can use to educate people and businesses on ways to avoid being victimized. The 24-page booklet includes crime-prevention tips related to break-and-enters, property and identity crime, fraud and auto theft.
“We also aim to reduce victimization overall by introducing crime prevention initiatives such as this, as well as addressing social design and root causes,” Derry said, noting this year’s theme is very apropos.
“I say that because when a person’s home or business is entered illegally or personal property or identity is stolen, the victim suffers material as well as personal loss,” he pointed out.
“Many feel anger, fear, guilt, anxiety and sadness at this personal violation. We need to do all we can to help those victims return to a normal life as quickly as possible.”
This year’s program involves partners from Reilly Security, TitlePLUS/LawPRO, Accident Support Services International Ltd., VIA Rail, Canpar Transport, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.
Gina Antonacci, the dean of Humber’s School of Social and Community Services, said break and enter is a misunderstood crime.
“Not only do you raise awareness which ultimately leads to changes in behaviour, but the other thing that you do is get out the message that we can empower ourselves and that it’s not just about you being random victims. There are things that we can do to lessen our chances of being victims and that’s a very powerful message.”
There were 12,362 break-and-enters in Toronto in 2009 compared with 12,932 the year before.