Joined by Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Michael Chan, and Members of Council, Markham Ward 6 Councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci was hosting a city wide “MARKHAM YRP Community Safety UPDATE Meeting” at Council Chamber, first city wide event in 2024, Markham Civic Centre on January 22nd, 2024. York Regional Police Deputy Police Chief Paulo Da Silva, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Michael Chan, Ward 2 Councillor Ritch Lau, Ward 3 Councillor Reid McAlpine, Ward 7 Councillor Juanita Nathan, and Ward 8 Councillor Isa Lee and about 200 Residents, Businesses, Community Associations and Media representatives attended this online and offline hybrid-webinar.
Markham Ward 6 Councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci said: “In the past, we have organized series of Crime Prevention Sessions to provide crime prevention tips, crime statistics and promoting community watch programs to help build a strong and safer community together. With some of the concerns about the increasing number of break-ins and car thefts have been raised by the Community, we are hosting a city wide “YRP Community Safety UPDATE Meeting” with York Regional Police. York Regional Police Crime Prevention Officer, the command and investigators will provide more specific details on what they are doing to keep the Community safe in Markham. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Markham city councillors from ward 1 to 8 for their support to make this meeting happen today. Crime prevention involves all of us working together to make our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces health and safety. Thank you all for your support for the York Regional Police increasing the operating budget to keep the Community safe.”
Deputy Police Chief Paulo Da Silva thanked Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Michael Chan, Ward 6 Councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci and other Members of Council for inviting York Regional Police to cohost this Community Safety Update meeting. Deputy Police Chief Paulo Da Silva introduced the York Regional Police officers who attended the meeting: Superintendent Sony Dosanjh, Inspector Sarah Riddell, Staff Sergeant Karen Hodge, and Detective Sergeant Dave Ecklund, Patrolman Constable Brian Hinds and Patrolman Constable Mo Chong.
Deputy Police Chief Paulo Da Silva also emphasized: Our mission at York Regional Police is to ensure all our citizens feel safe and secure through excellence in policing. We are committed to engaging with our community, providing the most effective and efficient services possible. Through education, awareness and enforcement we have secured a reputation as one of the safest communities in Canada. He thanked all sectors of the community and residents for their active participation and efforts in strengthening community safety.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti pointed out that everyone has a responsibility for community safety. According to the survey, Markham was the second safest city in Canada in 2021, with a high percentage of residents feeling safe in Markham. However, we have seen an increasing trend in break-ins and car thefts in Markham and York Region in recent years, and we have heard from residents’ concern about the safety of their communities. We have successful initiatives by York Regional Police working with other partners to recover numerous stolen vehicles.
Mayor Scarpitti thanked the Members of Council for convening this meeting and making efforts to promote community safety. At the same time, he commended and encouraged the residents to actively participate in effort to increase community safety. He also thanked Markham Regional Councillors for their support in additional funding to hire more police officers. During the meeting, Mayor Scarpitti also encouraged residents to express their opinions and suggestions on community safety to Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament for changes to legislation that improve community safety.
Deputy Mayor Michael Chan thanked the York Regional Police for their efforts in community safety, and thanked the police for providing safety updates to the community, so that everyone has the opportunity to understand more about the police. He pointed out that car theft is not just a problem in York Region, but a national crime issue. According to the figures published on the York Regional Police website, certain areas of Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Markham are high incidence areas of break-ins. Deputy Mayor Chan himself attended a number of meetings and activities on these issues last year, and he realized that the residents urgently need the police to adopt effective measures to reduce the high crime rate and protect the lives and property of residents. He also hopes that the motion just passed by the York Regional Council to increase funding for the York Regional Police will help increase the number of police officers and promote the community safety program in York Region. During the question and answer session, he asked the police officers about the process of arrest and release of criminals and expressed his great concern about the issue.
Sergeant Brian Hinds delivered a presentation entitled “Crime Prevention & You” to provide effective ways to prevent crime, the types and characteristics of crimes such as break-ins, how to protect yourself and what York Region Police are doing to combat and prevent crime.
At the meeting, Markham Mayor, Markham Deputy Mayor and Deputy Police Chief Paulo Da Silva respectively confirmed that the York Region Police Department has received approval from the Police Services Commission and York Region Council for a net operating budget of $410.1 million for 2024, a 4.6 percent increase over the 2023 budget, including an increase of 46 staff members. According to the York Regional Police’s website, the increased budget will be used to support safer communities, innovation, continuous improvement and an inclusive sense of belonging, increased recruitment and retention of existing jobs. Additional watch staffing will address community needs such as safer neighborhoods, responding to crime trends, embedding peer support, and providing support services.
Carmen Gao, a resident from a respectively high risk community in Markham, initiated a request for the police to increase the community patrol and support York Region Council to increase the funding for York Regional Police to support the community patrol petition.
Yan Wang, a representative of York Region Community Support Alliance and other online participants expressed their concerns about community safety. Crime prevention involves all of us working together to make our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces health and safety.