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posted February 28, 2008

Discussion about Police notices on local email list service

On February 25 and 26 2008, the moderator of the dufferingrovefriends email list service experimentally requested that a number of police notices be posted on dufferingrovefriends. Here are some of the postings and the discussion that followed.

Public Safety Alert, Sexual Assault, 14 Division

From: newsreleases@lists.torontopolice.on.ca

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 - 2:36 PM
14 Division

The Toronto Police Service is alerting the public to a sexual assault that took place in Dufferin Grove Park, in the Dufferin Street/Bloor Street West area.

It is reported that:

- on Monday, February 25, 2008, at 12:30 a.m., a woman was walking southbound on Dufferin Street, south of Bloor Street West,

- she was grabbed by an unknown man and forced into the park area where she was sexually assaulted.

The suspect is described as dark complexion, 5’7”, 160 lbs., 20-30, with a black beard and moustache, wearing a dark parka with a fur-lined hood, dark bandana on his head, zip-up hoodie, and dark jeans.

Women should continue to be aware of their surroundings.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.222tips.com.

Constable Isabelle Cotton, Public Information, for Detective Lisa Kurts, 14 Division

There are no files attached to this release.

Opinions wanted about posting police info here

I have invited the police reports for the neighbourhood.

How do you feel about having this information here. Do we want to know when the police have a crime reported to them in the neighbourhood?

Personally, I like to have this info, but I am not sure if it serves the community in a positive way. Does it make us feel less safe in our park? Is innocence bliss? Is it helpful to know what is going on so that we notice what goes on around us more?

I post bulletins that I think might interest you, especially if it involves someone that lives in our midst.

If you’d like to discuss this with the group, post it to the group. If not, and you’d like me to know what you think, please send it to me offline.

The police missives come from one email address, you can sort your emails to automatically delete those ones.

I am curious what you are thinking about this.

Your moderator,

Friends Of Dufferin Grove Park

Hi there -- an opinion: I think the police reports posted on the web site should deal with events in the local area only. But if they are local events, then it's surely very helpful. For instance, the photo in this police news release is useful. The police were investigating the scene down by Dufferin Street yesterday, and at that time they wouldn't tell the park staff what had happened. But now they've released the story and possible photo on their web site, so I think it's definitely worth looking at, for everybody: http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/pdfs/13523.pdf

It sounds as though a woman was walking along the sidewalk on the east side of Dufferin, late at night, and got pulled into the park. The guy does not look like anyone I recognize, but now the park staff (and also some of the park regulars) will be able to have a look at the photo, and they may have an idea.

The more people who are on the lookout for this guy, the better, seems to me -- the police have the right idea.

As for people getting too worried -- this city has over 2 million people in it -- of course there will be trouble, anywhere. If we know when there's a snake in the woods, that's just good urban sense.

- J

I would prefer no police reports on this mailing list.

- C

Yes I would like to know about crime events that take place in our neighbourhood. For me it is especially important to know about anything like sexual attacks. It is a matter of safety. Thank you very much Mod Squad!

- PR

I do want to know what is happening in the neighbourhood. I am a little concerned that there will be a deluge of police reports about fairly minor incidents which will, cumulatively over time, negatively colour our perceptions of the area. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

That said, I think it would be a useful exercise to stick with the police reports for now, just for the 'hood, but to revisit the policy if we end up flooded with a large number of minor incident reports.

- CR

Thank you for the input.

From what I understand, the way the police report subscription works is an all-or-nothing scenario. They send us the information for 14 division or not.

It would be great if there was a volunteer that was willing to receive these and repost the ones that might be of interest to the group. Personally, I cannot do that at this time. Is there another idea or thought?

Is there someone out there that would want to take this on? I don’t think there is a lot of crime in our neighbourhood, so I don’t think it is a big undertaking for the volunteer.

Please continue to let your preferences be known.

Thank you,


Moderator, Dufferin Grove Park Listserv

Innocence is bliss, it is also deceiving.

Being in the little bubble of safety is but a grand illusion. Although I don't want to hear about all these negative things, I want to be well informed of what's happening in my community.

Pls. continue to post these things.

- C

More discussion

I do want to know about break-ins and other stuff, but only in the hood. Also there was a posting this week, of a mother who was being charged with second degree murder of her infant son.This was something I didn't need to know. Thanks for asking for our input, there's my two cents.

- A

Thanks for asking, Erella.

Personally I think that if people want to receive these bulletins they're free to sign up for them with the TPS, especially now that you've made the service known.

- M

I'm with M on this. People are free to sign up. Perhaps the link to the police missives could be made clear for those who want this info.

The bigger issue for me is having these stories become identifying points in our community. In his CBC Massey lecture series call the Truth About Stories, Thomas King (of Dead Dog Cafe fame) said something like this: "Stories. that's what we are, that's all we are. So, careful what stories you tell, because once they are told, you can't bring them back. They just keep emanating out into the world, the bad and the good." Particular warnings are certainly useful, but its the emanations I worry about more.

Of course, I also have the choice of personally ignoring these postings, but that won't stop the background noise. There are other, and perhaps more humanizing, stories to keep us busy.

- D

I disagree. Those who want to be "responsible" can subscribe to the the list. I have no doubt if that is there is an important community concern, it will get communicated. Given that anyone can opt in to getting the police updates, I think it is really unfair to inundate those of us who don't want every little piece of info. on this list.

Personally, I think that governments often create a state of fear in order t justify increasing budgets etc.

Unless everyone wants this information, I don't think this list should subscribe. It is also inefficient to subscribe a list to another list. If people want police info, please sign up directly.

- K

Thanks for the input.

I think I will keep this discussion (about the police/crime reports) open for a few more days but it sounds like you as a group would rather that I only allow a few messages through, the ones that specifically concern our neighbourhood.

Since I haven't a lot of time for this endeavor, it will mean that we will get way less, rather than more messages.

If this information is of interest to you, please subscribe on an individual basis.

Thank you very much for your help.

- Erella

I appreciate the question being asked. My vote would be to not have these kinds of postings on this list. We live in a culture of fear as it is, often overwhelmed and overburdened by all that we have to be scared of. However - I do appreciate that for some this kind of information may in fact make them feel safer. For some women, for example, knowing about sexual assaults happening in their community may help them feel more prepared/safe. So ultimately I defer to those who feel strongly that this information helps them directly (I'm less concerned with helping the police). I can, as Erella has suggested, simply chose not to open the messages. Ultimately I don't feel that a community/neighborhood/park listserv is the place for these kinds of messages - and I do believe that there is a cost to having this information being consistently brought into our mailboxes as well as everywhere else we get it. So my vote would be to leave this information off this list, and people who actively want it can seek it out in other ways. I do however, in the end, defer to those who feel strongly that it helps them...

- N

I would rather not receive the police notices on a regular basis on this listserv. I think it preferable to have information on how to join the police listserv posted on the Dufferin Grove website so people can join as they wish. It seems to me that incidents that are directly relevant to the park or the immediate area are often posted by someone in the neighbourhood for our info and I would prefer to keep it that way. Otherwise, from what I can see of the number already been posted, the police notices could overwhelm all the other neighbourly types of listings that I enjoy receiving.

Vivienne Smietana

Ed: Note that in response to these messages dufferinpark has notices for joining the Toronto Police Email Services in the Neighbourhood section and the Park Safety and Police section of the website. The notice is: To subscribe to toronto police service mailing lists, see lists.torontopolice.on.ca.

Content last modified on October 27, 2015, at 05:09 PM EST