By Suleman Din
Students could be fooling themselves into thinking it’s completely safe to park around Ryerson, according to Toronto police.
Toronto police constable David Mills, of 52 Division, said that in the downtown area, including Ryerson, car break-in and theft if a “bad epidemic.”
“People have a false sense of security because they’ve parked their car in a lot or in a garage,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you park, be it in a garage or on the street, theft occurs anywhere.”
Constable Mills said police most frequently respond to reports of auto break-ins. Usually, the targets are radios or cellular phones left in cars, he said. Exact statistics around Ryerson were unavailable.
This is a sharp contrast to the opinions of students questioned around Ryerson campus, all of whom felt safe parking here and did not have extra safety devices such as car alarms installed in their cars.
Sheila Jones, 23, has driven to Ryerson for the past five years, and parks here three times a week. She says she feels safe and has had no trouble.
Students were more concerned with being followed or being attacked while going to their car. Zabeen Meghji, 21, said she felt insecure about parking here, and said her biggest fear is being followed. Meghji drives to school every day.
Alan Lee, 21, gave the safety around Ryerson “a seven out of 10.” He said during the day he is not afraid, but at night he fears being attacked. Lee drives a Honda CRV, and had installed an alarm.
However, Constable Mills calls such fears “unfounded,” and said if such attacks occur they are rare and isolated events.
Charmaine Noronha, 21, isn’t convinced. She gets someone to walk with her if she parks at the lot at Church and Carleton Sts. She has The Clubs for her car, and she prefers to park at the Ryerson underground parking lot because, “there are more people around, and it is closer to campus.”
Her opinion was echoed by the other students. Ryerson’s underground parking lot was the preferred place to park, even though it was the most expensive, at a $10 maximum for all day parking, or $7.50 if you park before 9 a.m. Students felt this was still reasonable. Rob Edwards, 23, said, “You pay extra for convenience and safety.”
Ryerson has a yearly parking program for students. For nearly $1,000 students can park in the Ryerson underground lot or the lot at the International Living and Learning Centre (ILLC), which was the second most popular space due to its cost. The ILLC’s lot costs a maximum of $7.50 to park at all day and $3 after 4 p.m.
Other parking lots close to Ryerson include the Dundas Square parking lot owned by the city, and the parking lot at Church and Gould Sts. Both costs a maximum of $8 for all day parking, though the lot at Gould Street can sometimes cost $10 — $15 to park there because of Maple Leaf games.
Constable Mills advised that students should try to park in a busy location that is well lit, and that they do not keep valuables in their car visible.