TORONTO: Cops Start Sweeps of City Parks

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Sun, 26 Jul 1998 09:34:09 -0700


The Toronto Sun July 26, 1998

COPS TO SQUEEGEE KIDS IN
  PARK: GET LOST

         By ROB GRANATSTEIN -- Toronto Sun
    Police pressure on squeegee kids continued yesterday morning
  with a clear message: Park it somewhere else.
   A sweep by Toronto Police at four downtown parks resulted in
  no arrests but let squeegee kids know that sleeping in the great
  outdoors will not be tolerated.
   While the sweep was not specifically directed at the squeegee
  kids, the parks targeted by police are frequented by the youths.
   "It's aimed at anybody misusing the parks," Sgt. Lisa Hodgins
  said. "The parks aren't for sleeping or for going to the washroom,
  they're for regular citizens who like the nature of downtown
  parks."
   The sweeps are an initiative of 52 Division's crime management
  strategy and the parks being monitored are on the list because of
  frequent complaints from the public.
   Parks that are specifically being watched include Grange Park in
  the Queen and Beverley Sts. area; Cloud Gardens on
  Temperance St. between Yonge and Bay Sts.; College Park
  behind the apartments at Yonge and College Sts., and St. James
  Park at King and Church Sts.
   "It's not all squeegee kids, but that's a part of it," Sgt. Hugh
  Ferguson said.
   He said the people in the parks were asked to get up and leave
  when police arrived about 9 a.m. yesterday.
   "We let them sleep in -- it is the weekend," Ferguson said.
   The homeless were given names of shelters where they could
  stay.
   As squeegee kids come under increasing pressure, those under
  attack are banding together to fight back.
   A free meal and rally is set for Metro Hall, July 29 at 7 p.m. to
  tell politicians that squeegeers and panhandlers will do whatever
  is necessary to defend their means of survival.