The cluster of condominiums found on Dixon Road between Kipling and Islington Avenue, nicknamed the “Dixon buildings” by locals, has become a recurring hotspot for crime in the past two decades, according to Toronto police.
The neighbourhood was the subject of media attention in 2013 after police announced that 44 members of the Dixon City Bloods street gang were arrested during Project Traveller; a controlled raid operation focused on eliminating gang-violence in the Dixon condominiums.
Gills Sandahaar, superintendent of 301 Dixon Rd., said the area gained heavier police presence in 2019 after two separate stabbing incidents and a drive-by shooting.
Despite the surge in security measures, residents in the area said they are worried that danger will haunt the neighbourhood this Halloween.
Aliyah Burami, 14, resident of 370 Dixon Rd., said the last thing she would do is go trick-or-treating in her surrounding neighbourhood.
Burami said her decision to spend the holiday elsewhere, is due to a dangerous incident that happened last Halloween. “Someone set off fireworks on Halloween and were aiming them off their balcony at cars in the parking lot. It was wild,” said Burami.
Loreta Baranov, a stay-at-home mom from 320 Dixon Rd., said poor condo security is the biggest concern for her 12-year-old daughter’s safety this Halloween.
“The security here aren’t doing their job. They just sit in the office all day, even if you call them to complain about something, they take forever [to answer you]. My biggest fear is that my daughter will get kidnapped on Halloween or coming home from school, and they will do nothing about it,” said Baranov.
Ivan Harding, a resident of 315 Dixon Rd., said that he will take security measures into his own hands by watching the neighbourhood from his balcony during this year’s Halloween festivities. “I understand that kids will be kids and parents want to let their kids have fun that night, but we [guardians] need to make sure that they keep an eye out for them,” said Harding.
Harding also said a few more police officers are needed in the area to patrol trick-or-treating.
“Last Halloween, there were a few police cruisers parked in the lot across from us, patrolling the area. With what’s going on now, they might need to add more just for [Halloween] night. That would definitely make me feel at ease,” Harding said.
Sandahaar said he believed that residents’ fear are due to overthinking about the violent events that happened in the past, and that trick-or-treaters have “nothing to worry about.”
“Yes, [violent] things like that happen, but people need to remember these things happen everywhere—not just here. We can’t keep thinking about those things; we have to move on from it,” he said.
“The best thing kids can do is just be smart and trick-or-treat safely, by going with parents or their bigger brothers and sisters.” Sandahaar said.