Durham police report an increase in crime in the region for the second year in a row.
Emergency 911 calls shot up as much as seven per cent last year, with the majority of the cases involving assaults (up 1.6 per cent), sexual violations (3.8 per cent), robbery, (17.5 per cent), and theft (6.5 percent). There have even been some cases of fraud, break-and-enters and gang-related human trafficking, however these have not been as frequent.
Local authorities believe that the growing aged population of the region has become a primary target for younger offenders. However, teens, young adults and middle-aged individuals are also being victimized, with several disturbing incidents reported over the past few months. These include anything from car hijackings at gunpoint to stabbings on public transit by completely random strangers.
Police Chief Paul Martin says he is most concerned with the rise in homicides, stating “It’s the most heinous crime.” Durham usually averages around four to six murders annually, but there were a total of nine cases in 2017 and already one case in the new year with a 17-year-old in Oshawa.
But you don’t need to look at the numbers to see how alarming the situation is in Durham. The most recent headlines to come out of the region already paint the crime story:
- Man stabbed multiple times in torso Friday night in Ajax
- Brothers charged in violent crime spree that left north Ajax community ‘living in fear’
- Remains in Oshawa home belong to woman whose torso was found in harbour
- Two armed men rob downtown Whitby bank
- Fight led to stabbing of student and staff member at Pine Ridge in Pickering
Aside from aggressive crimes, there have also been multiple offences committed on the road, including texting while driving, impaired driving, and running through red lights.
Despite all of these facts, a survey showed that a high percentage of people (in the 80s) still felt safe in their homes.