Tuesday, July 03, 2012
TORONTO - Mike Greer and his wife Joanna moved into their new house in West Rouge two years ago believing it was the perfect place to raise their kids — Xander, 5, and Tyra, 3.
But living in their dream home in the city’s east end soon became a nightmare as they found themselves being terrorized by belligerent, pot-smoking teenagers who have no regard for the law or concern for human life.
“Last week they firebombed my house,” a frustrated Mike Greer told the Toronto Sun Tuesday. “I don’t know how we’re suppose to live like this.”
Soon after moving into the home on Friendship Ave., near Port Union Rd. and Lawrence Ave. E., Greer realized teens often partied at West Rouge Public School next-door, especially during the summer.
They drink, smoke dope and get into fights regularly in the school parking lot and out back.
Early last summer, the phys-ed teacher noticed marijuana smoke wafting into his kids’ rooms and decided he had to do something.
“I should be able to read my children a bedtime story without their bedrooms filling up with pot smoke,” he said.
Greer approached the youth sitting with their bongs in a doorway on the north side of the school and “politely” asked them to go elsewhere.
But rather than abide by his wishes, the teens told him they were on “public property” and there was nothing he do about it.
That was the first of many times he has tried to reason with the clean-cut, well-dressed teenage boys, who he believes live in the area.
When his house was egged for the first time that summer, Greer didn’t think much of it.
But then in November, all four tires were slashed on one of his cars.
“That’s when I knew we were being targeted,” Greer said.
The partying dissipated last winter, but trouble started up again when the weather warmed up in March and April.
Over the May long weekend, Greer said vandals scratched two of his cars and slashed his tires again.
That same weekend, the playground at a nearby daycare was set on fire, as were bags of lawn clipping along the street and garbage bins at the school.
Greer realized the situation was becoming dangerous and once again called police. It was the first time officers responded to his house.
But Greer said police told him there was little they could do unless they catch the teens in the act of committing a crime.
Near the end of May, Greer met with an officer from the Community Response Unit, a representative from area Toronto Councillor Ron Moeser’s office and a TDSB trustee to discuss prevention for this summer.
Lighting at the school was improved, a gate was erected to stop vehicles from entering the parking lot and police stepped up patrols.
Greer also installed infra-red cameras at his house. But the problems only escalated.
One June 24, his home was egged again. Cameras caught the vandal’s image but his face was covered.
Last Saturday, things turned scary when a Molotov cocktail was tossed at his home. Fortunately the bottle smashed off one of his cars and the flames did not catch.
“We are so at a loss of what to do at this point,” Greer said. “It’s disheartening.”
Police said they are “actively investigating” the fire-bombing incident.
“Evidence was sent for forensic testing and we are waiting for the results,” Const. Wendy Drummond said.
She said police are “fully aware” of the situation and future incidents will be treated with a higher priority.
Moeser, meanwhile, said he plans to meet with the 43 Division superintendent as well as the TDSB trustee to discuss further options.
“It’s really unfortunate that anybody has to go through this,” he said. “It’s such a nice area, but a few bad kids can really make life hell for people.”
Several other neighbours said they also have had trouble.
“This is not just some kids getting into some mischief,” said Geoff Evenden, whose wife and young son were almost run down by some of the teens. “It’s out of control.”
Greer recently began spending nights in his car parked in the driveway, unsure of how else to protect his family.
“People’s lives are being ruined and it needs to stop,” he said, appealing to the youth involved. “It only takes one or two kids to stand up and say ‘This isn’t right.’”
Greer also pleaded with parents to pay closer attention to what their kids are up to.
“They may be telling you they’re sleeping at a friend’s house,” he said. “But how do you know they’re not sitting beside my house smoking weed and carving up my cars?”
A West Rouge neighbourhood has been plagued by unruly teenagers partying behind an elementary school. One resident in particular has been terrorized by the youth since he stood up to them just over a year ago.
- May 2010: Mike Greer, his wife Joanna and their kids, Xander, now 5, and Tyra, now 3, move into their new home on Friendship Ave.
- May 2010: Greer realizes immediately that area youth like to party at the elementary school next door, West Rouge Public School.
- June 2010: The family’s house is egged for the first time.
- June 2011: Greer notices pot smoke wafting into his children’s bedroom windows from the schoolyard and asks the teens to go elsewhere.
- Summer 2011: Greer’s house is egged a couple of more times as youth continue to drink, smoke dope and fight on school grounds.
- October 2011: Calls Toronto Police to report a school bus being broken into by six youths.
- November 2011: All four tires on one vehicles are slashed and Greer realizes his home is now being targetted.
- March/April: Parties resume as weather warms up and problems with teens persist.
- May 19: Toronto Police visit Greer’s house for the first time after two of his cars are scratched and tires slashed. That same long weekend, the playground at a daycare is set on fire, as are bags of lawn clippings along the street and garbage bins at the school.
- May 28: Greer meets with Toronto Police community response unit, a representative from his city councillor’s office and a TDSB trustee and is told lighting will be improved at the school and patrols will be stepped up in the area.
- June: Greer installs infrared cameras out front of his house that record 24 hours a day.
- June: TDSB puts up a gate up to stop vehicles from entering West Rouge Public School.
- June 24: Surveillance cameras capture Greer’s house as it is egged again.
- June 30: A Molotov cocktail is thrown at Greer’s house from the from schoolyard, out of sight of the cameras.
- July 2: Greer’s house is egged again after repeated threats of “We’ll get you” from teens.
- July 3: Greer contacts the Toronto Sun.
And, give Charles Adler’s latest column a read: