While the Greater Toronto Area has several different areas that are commonly known as “Chinatown,” the largest and perhaps the most well-known is located along Dundas Street West near Spadina Avenue. The actual boundaries of this neighbourhood are not strictly defined, but the common thought is that the neighbourhood runs north to just below College Street and south to just above Queen Street. The eastern boundary is typically considered to be University Avenue and the western boundary is Spadina. Spadina and Dundas is the major centre of the area.
There are many Chinese businesses in the region (hence the name) and the majority of these are located along Spadina Avenue. There are many smaller stores and two large shopping malls in the area: Dragon City and Chinatown Centre. This Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatown’s in North American
As with all downtown Toronto neighbourhoods, there is unfortunately crime in the area.
Between Spadina Avenue and University Avenue, from Dundas Street West to Queen Street West, there is an average of 7.23 crimes against people per 1000 people living and working in the area. There are 31.03 crimes against property.
North of Dundas Street to College Street, still between Spadina and University, there is an average of 5.84 crimes against people per 1000 and 24.22 crimes against property.
In March of 2011 the Toronto Police began to crack down on “petty crime” in Chinatown. From CBC News:
Toronto police are starting a 10-week crackdown on petty crime in Chinatown that they say is aimed at improving the quality of life for residents and visitors.
Operation Blue Rabbit, as it’s called, got underway Thursday. It involves deploying more officers in the neighbourhood to focus on vandalism, graffiti, liquor offences and some minor drug crimes.
“Nuisance crimes are certainly around. We continue to have issues with thefts from autos,” said Const. Ben Eng, who has been patrolling Chinatown since the 80s. “Certainly pickpocketing in particular …”
Unfortunately, crime in Chinatown sometimes leaves the realm of “petty crime” and becomes more serious. In July 2010 a 64-year-old woman was sexually assaulted during the early morning. Also from CBC News:
A 64-year-old woman was riding her bike near Baldwin Street and Spadina Avenue just after 5 a.m. when she was attacked, police said.
Police also say he has an unkempt appearance, and is estimated to be between 30 and 40 years old.
These crimes highlight the fact that it is important to be aware of yourself, your belongings, your surroundings and those nearby at all times. Regardless of the area that you are in or the time of day, crime can still happen.
Also, in July 2010, a teenage boy was murdered inside of a restaurant in Chinatown. From the Toronto Sun:
Gunfire rang out in a packed Chinatown restaurant early Saturday leaving one man dead.
Toronto Police said the city’s latest murder happened just after 3 a.m. Saturday inside Excellent Cantonese Seafood on Spadina Ave.
The lone victim was in the restaurant with others just before the shooting, police said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. Some reports, unconfirmed by police, indicated he was shot in the head.
Police are continuing to collect surveillance video taken around the restaurant.
Video surveillance is often the key to solving many crimes. Footage from security cameras is incredibly valuable to police and it is often the first piece of evidence that officers look for. Installing security cameras in your home or business can help identify and capture suspects as well as provide strong evidence in court.