Taking a look at shootings in Toronto, ON

Published September 8th, 2016 | By
Out West

Out West

Canada’s largest city isn’t exactly associated with high levels of crime as opposed to the largest metropolises in the United States. However, in a city with a population of 2.61 million (as of 2011), it is inevitable that a noticeable amount of crime will occur throughout the year. For the sake of focus, we will look at the occurrence of violent crimes (namely shootings) within the greater Toronto area.

 

According to statistics from the Toronto Police Service, there have been 282 shootings in 2016 as of September 6th. This marks an increase of 46.1% from to-date shootings in 2015. When looking at year-to-date homicides, there have been 48 this year, compared to 35 at this time last year. That marks a 37.1 increase. The chart below is from the Toronto Police Service:

SOURCE: Toronto Police Service

SOURCE: Toronto Police Service

With the data provided, it unfortunately shows that shootings are on quite a noticeable upswing from 2015. These stats, of course, have not gone unnoticed by authorities and the media. According to a CBC article from this May, gun homicides had seen a 200% increase year-over-year at the time.

 

2016 numbers are approaching that of 2005, a year that has carried the name “The Year of the Gun”, in which 52 shooting homicides were documented.

 

Why is this happening? Police attribute it to criminals carrying more guns instead of storing them away in hidden, secure places. Other theories include police turning their attention more towards high-profile protests rather than individual crime, although this has been met with a wealth of counterarguments.

 

One of the problems that is becoming more and more difficult to ignore is the influx of gang-related activity around the city. An article in The Star from June quotes current Toronto mayor John Tory, who says that violence around the city seems to be “confined to people involved in the gang subculture — people who don’t hesitate to use guns to settle even the most minor of disputes.”

 

In Comparison

Although the apparent surge in shootings in The Queen City might be a cause for some worry, it’s important to note that Toronto is still quite a safe city to live in. Like any city, crime tends to be concentrated in certain neighbourhoods.

 

While shooting data was difficult to come by, one infographic from Toronto Life attributes over 900 assaults to the Waterfront neighbourhood in 2011. This is apparently more than twice the amount than anywhere else in the city.

 

Compare these occurrences to Chicago, IL, which just saw its 500th homicide over Labour Day weekend in the United States. According to the Chicago Police Department and CNN, homicides in Chicago could very well reach close to 700 by the end of the year based on current trends.

 

What is being done?

 

The spike in Toronto shootings this year doesn’t necessarily open the door to rushing to conclusions. If there is a continuous spike year-over-year, this would be a different story. However, the city has long-implemented a selection of programs to help raise awareness of gun violence in and around the city.

 

According to The Star, the Toronto Police created the Toronto Police Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), which utilizes the community to help combat gun violence.

 

Basic Home Safety Checks To Do Today

Published July 27th, 2016 | By

Home security from malicious threats may be what is primarily on your mind, and rightfully so, but it’s important to not overlook the many home hazards that exist day in and day out around your living space. Maximizing the safety of your household doesn’t have to be a time-consuming practice – most of the safety protocols can be done in a single morning or afternoon.

Let’s take a look at some of the simple measures you and your family can take to make sure your home is as safe as can be for all.

1. Ensure tightness of all handrails

A-simple-and-sleek-wooden-handrail

 

Handrails along staircases are safety essentials, yet one might overlook their condition after a while. Make sure that all handrails within your home (including the ones that are in your bathroom) are as tight as possible. Dependable handrails are for the safety of all, but especially for the elderly who place their trust in them to get up and down the stairs, as well as in and out of the bathtub.

2. Replace the indoor air filter as needed

disposable

Maybe you don’t need to do this today, especially if you’ve already taken care of it in the past, but being on top of replacing your indoor air filter is essentially for a variety of reasons. The most obvious of these is the quality of your indoor air will suffer without regular replacement. Ask anyone who deals with asthma, and they’ll tell you that’s it easy to tell when a air filter hasn’t been replaced.

Apart from the air quality, a dirty air filter can also cause damage towards your HVAC system. With a dirty and clogged filter, your HVAC system has to work harder to provide the air that you have it set to. If you regularly have the heating or cooling on, then you will likely have to change the air filter sooner than later. Some suggest changing your filter as soon as once a month during periods of heavy air condition, and between four and six weeks during heating. Different filters require different intervals of replacement, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines.

3. Get your chimney swept

chimney

It goes without saying, but it gets cold all over Canada, and if you have a chimney, there’s a good chance that you’re putting it to good use in the colder months. Although summer is currently going strong, think about getting hiring a professional chimney sweeper to make sure your chimney is in proper condition before the colder months come through.

If you don’t already have a home security system installed from Alarm Guard, take the first step and make the call. If you already have a system, then kudos to you for making the sound choice in home security.

4. Check those smoke and carbon monoxide detectors!

We know…we’ve said it over and over again. And now, we’re going to tell you once more: be sure to test out your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors! That’s all we are going to say. You know what to do from there.

Battling the Heat in British Columbia

Published May 26th, 2016 | By

bcweather

While Canada doesn’t exactly get associated with hot temperatures, it doesn’t mean that citizens never experience some sweat here and there. Surely, the territories, as sparely populated as they may be, rarely see hot temperatures. But when we head down to the provinces, that is where people may be eyeing their shorts and t-shirts during July.

Where most of the heat happens, probably to no surprise of the residents who live there, is British Columbia. During the summer, temperatures can reach as high as 30°C. For those who are not used to living in such temperatures in Canada, the experience can be rather overwhelming.

With June just around the corner, it’s important to remind yourself of ways to combat the heat both inside and outside of the home.

1. Inspect your air conditioning unit

It’s something that might get overlooked in BC, where temperatures can drastically change throughout the year. But making sure that your AC unit is properly functioning is critical for a variety of reasons, including more energy use (and higher bills as a result) if the unit is not performing at its maximum capacity.

Although it’ll mean some money out of your pocket, it is recommended that you get your AC unit inspected by a professional at least once a year.

2. Hydration

Water. We know we should drink more of it, but few of us actually heed our own advice. While each person has different needs depending on their body and overall lifestyle, it’s definitely a good idea to up your intake as the temperatures begin to rise in BC.

If you’re going for a bike ride or just a stroll through Vancouver’s Stanley Park or Queen Elizabeth Park on a summer day, have some sort of hydration vessel with you, and know the signs of dehydration.

  • Tiredness/dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Cramps

In more extreme cases, dehydration can lead to confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever.

If you are feeling energetic and keep sweating in the heat, it’s a sign that you’re probably good with hydration. Over-hydration can be just as dangerous, if not worse than dehydration. Know what you need when you need it.

3. Wear loose, light-coloured clothing

This goes back to early grade school science: darker colours absorb more heat. Clothing is no exception. On hotter days, making sure that you and your family have loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing is an important way to battle the heat. The lighter weight the material, the better as well.

4. Give special attention to the elderly

As the body gets older, it doesn’t respond to heat as easily and as readily as it does for younger people. Apart from an aging body, elderly people may be taking medications that can interfere with body temperature regulation.

This is why it’s important for family members and friends to keep a close watch on the elderly. Those in care should encourage regular intake of hydrating fluids.

If the elderly live on their own, it’s also important to make sure that their AC unit is properly functioning, and that their air filters have been replaced. Make it a point to ask them when the last time such appliances have been inspected.

 

Approved Devices with ADT Pulse

Published April 14th, 2016 | By

adt_pulse

ADT Pulse is the leading security automation solution from ADT Home Security, and it is currently available where ADT service is offered across Canada. One thing that people may begin to ask when they are thinking about implementing Pulse into their home is: “What do I need?”.

Here’s a simple list of ADT-approved items that you can use with Pulse. Be sure to reach out to Alarm Guard today if you have any additional questions about what devices you can use.

ADT Home Security works to make sure that new devices are regularly getting added.

Pulse Z-Wave-Enabled Devices

If you have been doing your research into ADT Pulse, then there’s a good chance that you’ve seen Z-Wave get brought up quite a bit. Essentially, Z-Wave is the protocol responsible for allowing your home devices to “talk” to one another, letting you control your lights, heating, and locks through wireless technology.

Most Z-Wave Enabled devices come from Jasco/GE, and they include:

  • Light Switch
  • Lamp Module
  • Dimmer Light Switch
  • On/Off Lamp/Appliance Module

The thermostat currently Z-Wave Enabled is the RCS TZ45 Digital Thermostat. 

You might be asking: “Does this mean I need to buy new lights or heating system?” The answer is no, but these switches will be needed to ensure you can control lights.

Approved Wireless Cameras and Encoder

  • Sercomm Wireless Bookshelf Indoor Camera – Model# RC8021-ADT
  • Sercomm Wireless Outdoor Camera – Model# OC810-ADT
  • Approved Encoder – Sercomm Model# NV412A-ADT

Approved Wi-Fi Extender

  • NETGEAR Extender – Model# WN2RPADT-1ADNAS

Approved Touchscreen

  • UTC 7″ Touchscreen Model# IS-TS-0700-B

Wait…what does all of this mean?

It may seem like a lot to look at, but when you order ADT Pulse, customer service will help walk you through the devices that will be part of your package.

When you order Pulse, you’ll have access to the ADT Pulse App. This app is available in both the Apple and Google Play store, and will act as your control hub for home security while you are away.

Call today to learn more about what ADT Pulse can do for you and your family in Canada.

Published April 10th, 2015 | By

A couple in Vernon, B.C., are in disbelief after their security camera showed an elderly woman slowly and carefully removing furniture from their front porch. Mike and Andrea Malinosky do not know who the woman is, but are asking for help in identifying who it might be.

Upon discovery of the burglary, the Malinoskys posted the video on their Facebook page in the hopes that someone would be able to point out the woman. Others in the area had reported that some of their furniture had been stolen as well.

In the meantime, the couple has reported the theft to the RCMP, but according to CBC, they are not sure if they wish to press charges just yet. They want to get a better understanding of the woman, and know more about her state of mind at the time of the burglary.

The video, which can be seen here, clearly shows a woman slowly approaching Malinosky’s porch, stepping quietly as to not attract any attention. As she takes an end table off of the porch, she can then been seen peering into the front window to check for the presence of anyone. She then makes off with the table without any setbacks.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the RCMP.