By Lyba Mansoor
Toronto Police Services (TPS) announced a major crackdown on suspected pigeon gang members who have laid claim on Ryerson University campus on Friday.
The campus, located in the heart of downtown Toronto, has fallen victim to increased bouts of violence, theft and a general atmosphere of terror over the past year, as the pigeon gang has claimed the area as their operation headquarters.
Creed Bratton, an expert in gang member psychology and author of “The Pigeons Are Coming,” has been following the gang’s slow takeover of the university campus.
“They’re a unique gang in that they are quite fearless and brazen about their crimes. Each of them have undergone intensive plastic surgeries and look pretty much identical, which helps them deter police capture,” Bratton said.
The gang formerly worked out of suburban areas in the GTA, but Bratton said they decided to make the move to Ryerson campus because “it gave them access to a larger population to terrorize and exploit.”
Campus faculty have been urging TPS to get involved since September.
“They just didn’t seem to take it seriously. They thought the problem would resolve itself during the winter, saying this type of gang generally migrates to different territory as frequently as the seasons change. Well, it’s March, and they’re still here!” said Ryerson president, Mohamed Lachemi.
“I think it’s time TPS intervenes, as well as other branches of government. The pigeon gang are absolutely peckish for violence, and Toronto needs to do everything in its power to reprimand them,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said Thursday.
TPS made a formal commitment on Friday, following the mayor’s comments, promising to “use all available resources to catch and coop up the gang members.”
Students at Ryerson are relieved that something is finally being done about the malicious gang.
“At first it wasn’t that noticeable, but as the school year went on their presence really became more and more prominent,” said student Anita Prado.
Prado explained how alleged members of the gang “flock around students as they walk to class,” and “fearlessly snatch food out of people’s hands,” in broad daylight.
Another student, who asked to remain anonymous, recounted a horrifying interaction with the gang’s alleged leader.
“I was heading home after studying at around 10 p.m., holding a hotdog in one hand. I saw this, this monstrous winged creature start advancing towards me, hopping because it only had one leg. Its eyes were blood red and it started cooing at me mockingly,” he said.
The student explained how the pigeon followed him all the way down Gould Street, with more and more pigeons gathering behind it.
“I really thought I was going to die. I dropped my hotdog and started running. I heard these ravenous sounds behind me and saw a whole flock of them ripping my hot dog to shreds,” he said.
These incidents have ruffled the feathers of many Ryerson students, and with TPS vowing to reprimand the gang, students are starting to feel safe again.
“I’m just glad something is finally being done about it. All the terror they’ve been causing has put the entire campus in a really fowl mood,” said one student.