Forest Hill is a Toronto neighbourhood known for its rather large single family homes and affluent families.
It is typically split into two regions: Forest Hill North and Forest Hill South. The boundaries of Forest Hill North are Briar Hill Avenue in the north and Eglinton Avenue in the south. The eastern border is Latimer Avenue and Allen Road and Marlee Avenue make up the western border. Forest Hill South is, predictably, just south of Forest Hill North.
Its boundaries are Eglinton Avenue in the North and Tichester Road in the south. Bathurst Street is the western boundary while Elmsthorpe Road, Avenue Road and Oriole Parkway make up the east boundary.
While Forest Hill is lucky enough to have a low amount of crime against people, the neighbourhood has an average rate of crimes against property.
For crime statistics, Forest Hill is broken up into several regions. The eastern part of North Forest Hill has an average of 2.32 crimes against people per 1,000 people and 16.29 crimes against property. The western region has 4.04 crimes against people and 12.49 crimes against property.
In Forest Hill South, the eastern area has 3.14 crimes against people and 14.6 crimes against property. The west only has 1.32 crimes against people, but 11.19 crimes against property per 1,000. The rate of property crime in Forest Hill is generally average for the City of Toronto.
However, due to the large homes in the area and the fact that there are many valuable properties in Forest Hill, the area is often a target for sophisticated robbers who are hoping for a big heist.
Perhaps the most infamous Forest Hill robbery took place in November 2008 when the home of the wealthy Bronfman family was robbed. Thieves entered a second-floor window and stole a 200-pound safe from the home. In total, 59 pieces of jewellery was stolen as well as an unknown amount of cash. The criminals were able to open the safe with a hammer and a crowbar.
Among the items stolen were earrings, chokers, diamonds, sapphires and two Stanley Cup rings from the 1974 and 1976 champion Montreal Canadiens. A two-carat diamond worth $350,000 was also stolen.
Some speculated that the safe used to store the items was too small and and that a larger, heavier safe that would be more difficult to move should have been used for such valuables.
Unfortunately, this is not the only robbery to take place in the area.
Between September and November 2010 police estimate that over 120 homes have been struck by burglars. Some homes have been hit several times. One house on Russell Hill Road was robbed a substantial amount of property, including of over $100,000 of Israeli gold bullion.
Another home was hit for over $61,000 of jewellery including watches, earrings, necklaces and diamonds.
Police asked residents and others in the region to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Toronto police Constable Roy Rawluk said that “there’s a problem with break and enters” in the area due to the large amount of valuables that are stored in homes. A Bronfman family private investigator, Mark Mendelson, stated that Forest Hill gets hit by a break-in most every day. Many of these break-ins are carried out by sophisticated robbers who target homes.
The police stressed that anyone who is keeping valuables in their home should store them in a strong, heavy safe with a reliable lock and that they should “create barriers” in their home by locking all doors with secure dead bolt locks.
Being safe with your property is incredibly important. If you are not properly locking your doors with dead bolt locks and if you are leaving valuables out in the open or areas that are not secure, you are putting your property at risk. It is important to always ensure that all entry points to a home are locked securely. This includes all doors and and windows as well as the garage. Second-floor and basement windows must also be protected as criminals often use these as entry points. Having bars or gates on these windows will reduce the risk of a break-in.
Equipping your home with a monitored alarm system as well as a monitored security camera system are important as well. Not only do security cameras ask as a deterrent, but they will also record the criminals in the act. This will make apprehending and punishing these criminals easier and faster.