The Annex is a downtown Toronto neighbourhood. It is located between Bloor Street and Dupont Street. The western boundary is Bathurst Street and the eastern boundary is Avenue Road. The Annex is close to the University of Toronto campus and is home to many students and faculty as well as affluent university graduates and other professionals. The Annex is very densely populated with single-family homes.
As with all Toronto neighbourhoods, there is crime in the Annex. While the rate of crime against people is relatively average for the City of Toronto, the number of crimes against property are quite high.
There is an average of 8.16 crimes against people before 1,000 people living and working in the area. However, there are 23.75 crimes against property per 1,000 people.
In April 2011, five Annex residents had the tires on their vehicles slashed. Many suspected that these crimes were committed in relation to the Canadian federal election. The criminal or criminals who vandalized the cars was not identified. Having security cameras on those Annex homes and proper lightning on the properties would have not only identified the perpetrator but also likely prevented the crimes from occurring in the first place. Security cameras and motion-activated lighting frequently act as crime deterrents.
Unfortunately, crime in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood is sometimes more serious than vandalism.
In July 2009, a 23-year-old man was shot and killed in an alley near Bloor Street and Brunswick Avenue. Apparently the murder was the result of a robbery attempt. The victim left a nearby bar and was confronted by two men who attempted to steal his necklace. In the ensuing confrontation, the man was shot and killed. The suspects grabbed the necklace and jumped into a nearby car to get away.
While the murder was certainly a tragedy, the one positive aspect of this case is that the incident was captured on video by nearby surveillance cameras. Security cameras are often used by police to identify suspects and determine the events that took place during a crime. In this particular situation, police used the footage from nearby security cameras to put together the details of the encounter as well as to determine the identities of the two criminals.
The two men accused in the murder would not have been identified without the surveillance camera footage. Both men are considered “armed and dangerous” and have “violent criminal histories.” Charges were later dropped against one man while the other remains at large.
The Annex was also the scene of several swarming attacks earlier in 2009. There were numerous incidents where a group of six to 12 men surrounded a victim and demanded valuables and money. At least one man was stabbed in one of these swarmings.
Security cameras and surveillance equipment should be used on all properties. Security cameras can capture crimes on video and greatly increase the likelihood of criminals being identified and caught. Police frequently ask if there is any video surveillance footage available when they arrive at a crime scene. Footage from security cameras is incredibly valuable evidence.