From mid-January to early March 2018, a group of attackers terrorized a series of victims in the Yonge and Eglinton area in Toronto. They robbed these people with unarmed threats, as well as knife and gun threats. They took items such as clothing, phones, and cash.
Six people were arrested. The age range? 14 to 17.
The swarming incidents were alarming in their brazenness. They were teens running wild. Worse, they were armed and seemingly not concerned with getting caught.
Of course, it is easy to be brazen in a pack against the solitary teens they targeted. Cowards? Certainly. It is difficult imagining one of these “tough guys” strutting into an MMA, boxing gym, or biker bar, strolling up to patrons and demanding their cell phones. Cowards but cowards in numbers and with weapons.
Interestingly, all within a kilometre of the Yonge and Eglinton intersection.
During the late summer and early fall of 2013, 16 women reported being assaulted in the Bloor Christie area in Toronto. The police arrested a suspect, a 15-year old male.
Like the Yonge and Eglinton thugs, he focused on a particular neighbourhood.
In another case, over the summer of 2020, Toronto saw a series of assaults again women in the city’s west end. These assaults, many linked to the same perpetrators, were focused on the Parkdale, Roncesvalles, and Queen West area. Women reported abduction attempts, grabs, strikes, being spit at, followed to their cars. The violence escalated to a point where a group of women organized a Take Back the Night March on August 22nd.
Again, the assaults were concentrated in an identifiable geographical area.
There can be a variety of reasons for perpetrators focus on certain neighbourhoods. One is that the perpetrators feel comfortable in a particular area. They might go to school, work, or live in the area. It is also convenient. Why travel out of an area when you can stay in your neighbourhood? Travelling, after all, implies exercise, resources (public transit fees), or that you are old enough to have a driver’s licence.
Serial assailants often focus on a geographical area. Many are named accordingly. Before he was arrested, Paul Bernardo (it was later revealed) was known as the Scarborough rapist.
Assailants, like many others, can be creatures of habit.