Toronto Parking Enforcement is reporting an increase in the number of reported incidents targeting enforcement officers in 2023.
So far, there have been 23 reported incidents of violence or threats made against parking enforcement, up from 15 in 2022.
“You have to have your guard up at all times,” said Erin Urquhart, Toronto parking enforcement officer.
“We experience everything from verbal aggression, verbal abuse to physical abuse and getting assaulted.”
Urquhart has been a parking enforcement officer for eight years and said she has recently noticed a shift in behaviour towards officers on the job.
“It’s definitely a big rise … Since the pandemic, I’ve noticed driver behaviour and aggression is way different and a lot higher,” she said.
In July, Toronto police said they charged seven people in connection with incidents involving parking enforcement officers.
On July 17, Toronto police said a parking enforcement officer was in the process of issuing a violation notice near Yonge and Montgomery streets when a man threw a plastic bottle toward the officer; police said the man then pushed the officer in the chest.
Police arrested and charged a 26-year-old man in connection with the incident.
Urquhart said she too was assaulted while on the job several years ago.
“I was ticketing a vehicle outside of a Tim Hortons and the driver must have seen me from inside and they came running out and as I was trying to put the ticket on the windshield they pushed and shoved me,” she said.
“I felt like I was just doing my job and ‘I didn’t park your car here – you did.’ I didn’t deserve that.”
In a statement, Toronto Police Association vice president Brian Callanan said, “The increase in violent incidents targeting our members of Parking Enforcement is troubling. These dedicated professionals are valued members of our traffic safety team and go to work knowing they could be spat on, threatened, or assaulted. We are grateful to the Toronto Police Service for investigating these crimes and making quick arrests in many cases. No one deserves to be attacked for doing their job and we will continue to support our members.”
Urquhart said she is concerned with the rise in the number of assaults and threats targeting her colleagues.
“Is it going to stop or is it just going to keep rising,” she said. “No one deserves to be assaulted.”
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