Break and enters and a variety of assaults on the rise around Fanshawe and Western student neighbourhoods
The London Police Service (LPS) laid 43 charges to 13 individuals for a number of break and entres and assaults across the city. Students living in areas close to Fanshawe and Western University seem to be a hotspot for these incidents.
Fanshawe College and Western University student neighbourhoods and surrounding areas have become the chosen locations for criminals to seek assault and break and enter opportunities.
According to a Nov. 28 London Police Service (LPS) press release, over the last few months, a number of charges have been laid, while an ongoing investigation for a series of assaults and break and enters have occurred.
The LPS Street Crime Unit alongside the Uniformed Division have been hard at work on this case and according to the release, 43 charges have been laid in relation to these cases. These charges have been laid against 13 people, including 12 youth and one adult. The youth cannot be revealed due to the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The LPS noticed student neighbourhoods seem to be target for the group of youths. At least one of the incidents that led to arrests and charges happened around the Fanshawe College area.
The following is a description of the events that led to the large amount of charges laid:
Saturday, Oct. 8, 2017 — at approximately 12:25 a.m., three victims were approached by a group of youths in a vehicle in the area of Fanshawe College. Two females and a male were assaulted, one sprayed with pepper spray. Two of the three victims were transported to hospital with minor injuries.
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 — at approximately 2:25 a.m., a yet-tobe-identified victim is observed on video surveillance being assaulted by multiple suspects. The victim is observed being pepper sprayed before fleeing the area. The victim is urged to please contact police as soon as possible at 519-661-5670.
Friday, Nov. 4, 2017 — at approximately 11:30 p.m., a large group of people entered a business located at 1175 Wonderland Rd. N. and caused a disturbance. The group refused to leave and some staff members were assaulted, with two receiving minor injuries.
Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017 — at approximately 2:45 p.m., in the area of 110 Grand Ave., two males were involved in a consensual fight, when five others jumped in an assaulted one of the participants while he was laying on the ground. The victim was treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Although many charges and arrests have been made in the case, the LPS have informed the public that the investigation is still ongoing and no comments can be made on the investigative process as of yet.
“The entire issue has resulted in over 40 criminal charges against 13 different accused persons. Because it's an ongoing investigation, and there are outstanding charges, we can't comment on the investigative process. That will all be brought out once these individuals are taken to court,” Det. Sgt. Blair Harvey, of the LPS Street Crime Unit said. Harvey shared his story as to how these incidents were brought to police attention.
“We have crime analysts that are civilian members of the police service, and they monitor all of the break and enter activity that occurs in the city,” Harvey said.
“It was a combination of the fact that they could see a pattern developing, as well as the fact that during the first major incident over by Fanshawe, near the beginning of October, uniformed officers responded to that situation. So, it was a combination of what the uniformed officers responded to and the development of somewhat of a pattern that our crime analysts became aware of,” Harvey said.
The pattern of assaults, break and enters, and other criminal activity that the Crime Analysts and LPS became aware of was particularly alarming to them, due to a number of circumstances.
“What was most alarming to us was that these offenders did nothing to conceal their identity and they came into the neighbourhood in a pack,” Harvey shared.
“Normally break and enters are done by a single or pair of perpetrators at the most, but to have a whole group of people involved was quite irregular, and that was one of our initial causes of concern,” Harvey concluded.
Fanshawe Security is taking the initiative to spread awareness and safety tips for students, to help them not become victims of similar crimes and patterns. Manager of Fanshawe's Campus Security Services, Ed Pimentel, shared some excellent prevention tips for students to take advantage of, such as walking with a purpose, walk in groups, and ensure that you don't walk with your face in your phone.
“The area around a university or college is always a target-rich environment,” Pimentel said. “The [criminals] know that there are students living around an educational facility, and they know that sometimes, during exams, period breaks, or holiday breaks, they know a lot of their units are left unattended. At the end of the day, don't have that never-say-never mentality. In your unit or apartment, make sure you have everything locked up and out of view. These individuals, some of them are very good at what they dothey will scout an area, and know when a good time is to enter someone's home,” Pimentel said.
“In reference to personal safety, just knowing that any time you walk off the campus- for the most part- or anywhere for that matter, things do happen and you just have to have your wits about you. Walk with a purpose, don't look like a victim, do not carry anything that could [create] an intent to steal, walk with someone, and don't walk alone. [Don't] walk with ear buds and your face buried in your phone. Keep your hands free and know where you are walking,” Ed Pimentel concluded.
Harvey also had some unique advice for students, to help keep them safe from similar crimes. “The key thing that we stress is the basics of keeping windows and doors locked. Probably the main thing in the student area is to know for sure who you are allowing in your home when you're having a social event. It can't be just a freefor-all; you have to be aware of the people that you are allowing to gain entry into your home. We found, in a few of these cases, the host of the parties were just allowing everybody in, including these people that were entering with the intention to steal things or cause problems,” Harvey concluded.
If you have any information related to these incidents that you would like to share with police, feel free to call the London Police Service at (519) 661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent in online anonymously to www.londoncrimestoppers.com.