ABOVE: Toronto Police are warning the public about a series of violent robberies
TORONTO – Toronto police are warning pedestrians and transit uses to be mindful of their surroundings following a series of increasingly violent street robberies in Scarborough.
“Although robberies are down overall in our jurisdiction, the violence in the robberies is increasing with more weapons being used,” said Detective Sergeant Gerry Heaney at a press conference Thursday.
“There’s firearms being used, knives being used and there are serious injuries happening as a result.”
Police, along with Crime Stoppers, have also released a re-enactment video depicting the nature of the robberies.
Officials say public transit users are becoming easy targets for thieves.
“There is a trend where people are targeted either leaving the TTC or a crime of opportunity where someone has a valuable cellphone or tablet that someone on the bus have seen,” said Det. Sgt. Heaney.
“They are taken while the victim gets off the bus.”
Authorities are reminding pedestrians not to carry all personal identification, cellphones and valuables in one location.
“The majority of the robberies are committed by males between the ages of 16 and 25,” said Det. Sgt. Heaney.
“When people are leaving the transit, make sure you are in a well-lit area or picked up by someone.”
Mark Cousins, head of TTC security, says it’s important that if someone spots something suspicious to report it immediately.
“We have a request stop program at the TTC, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. for all customers,” he said. “Male or female traveling alone, can make a request for the bus to stop at a location other than the scheduled stop.”