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article imageOn the street in Toronto on Saturday night Special

By KJ Mullins     Nov 20, 2011 in World
It's a mix on the streets of Toronto every Saturday night in the entertainment district: young people ready to party and the police out in force ready to make sure that everyone makes it home safe.
Dressed in their skimpiest dresses, the girls are on the prowl and the guys are willing to be their prey.
The Toronto Police Service focus on the entertainment district of Toronto every weekend. They patrol using cars, horses, bicycles and street cops covering several blocks that are where the young and beautiful flock Friday and Saturday night.
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
Often the mostly 20-something crowd is well behaved but mixing young adults and alcohol can amp the ante when it comes to public safety.
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
From 10:30 p.m. to about 4:30 a.m. on weekend nights there is a strong police presence in the small area of the downtown. The police enforce traffic laws while keeping an eye out for fights and mischief. On Saturday I trailed two of Toronto's finest as they kept watch over the city.
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
The officers that walk this beat want to be where the action is, knowing that just their presence can stop crime before it begins. One officer, Constable Scott Mills, was using social media to get the message out about a wanted sexual assault suspect that has escaped capture for over a year. He spent time with his partner talking about the case to a group of young people as the shift began. The group was engaged as they talked about the crime, taking time to tweet the message to their friends before hitting the clubs. Later as the suspect's picture was shown to a formerly homeless man came details that could prove helpful to solving the case.
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
Constable Chris Acorn said that working the entertainment district is fun but admitted dealing with the vast amount of drunk young adults can try one's patience. That feeling is understandable as the night wore on and the blood alcohol rates sky rocketed. Far too many young adults were barely able to stand due to their partaking of spirits, in fact I witnessed three who fell flat on their face. Those actions play out every weekend. Most are assisted by friends who grab a cab ending their night of partying. If there is no one on hand to help someone who is overly intoxicated the police give the individual a ride to jail for a night in the drunk tank. While being locked up isn't what anyone would ask for it is the safest place for the few that end up there.
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
"Most of the time their friends help out someone who's drunk," Acorn said, "We don't want to lock someone up but if there's no one around to help then it's for their own good."
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
Officers are also on the lookout for motorists who violate traffic laws, motioning those caught over to the side of the road. What was surprising was the number of taxi drivers that were stopped on Saturday, mostly for running red lights and making improper turns. Most understood the drill, accepting their tickets and returning to the road. A few, however, would argue the point. One young man spoke to at least three different officers about a ticket he received, the last being Staff Sergeant Gregory Thorpe from 52 Division whose patrol car blocked traffic as a means of crowd control.
Thorpe said that this type of behaviour is fairly common and more frequent as the night goes on. He said that this Saturday night was busy but not any busier than most weekend nights.
Early in the evening two young ladies were involved in a fight in a parking lot. The pair made up and were later seen walking and laughing down the street. An observer on the street laughed as she watched sipping her Tim Horton's coffee. She smiled as she motioned towards her drink stating that alcohol makes people do stupid things.
The police try to break up the frequent fights without arrests. It's only when people can't be reasoned with that the cuffs come out.
Throughout the night I observed the police reacting in a positive manner with the club bouncers, young people and shop owners in the entertainment district. They used humour to defuse situations that could have turned ugly and showed compassion when young people clearly had over done it. By having such a visible presence on the street Toronto Police Services help ensure Toronto is safer.
Still as he watched the traffic Constable Acorn chuckled thinking about his two children and a third on the way, "They're not going to be allowed out until menopause!
Saturday night in Toronto s Entertainment District
Saturday night in Toronto's Entertainment District
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