Malton councillor laments loss of community police station in her ward after devastating shooting
Photos by Mansoor Tanweer

Malton councillor laments loss of community police station in her ward after devastating shooting

They came from the south side of the apartment complex. Saturday’s hail of gunfire, some 100 rounds, flew at a parkette and parking lot behind 7230 Darcel Avenue in Malton. Police who were still canvassing in the area on Tuesday showed The Pointer where to find bullet holes in the surrounding buildings.

The irony is, up until Feb. 28 2018, a community police station was located a few minutes’ walk away from the scene, at Westwood Square Mall. The husk of the station is still there, but the door is locked and a sun-faded sign says it’s closed. Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, in whose ward the shooting happened, is livid. She had fought tooth and nail to preserve that station, but the Peel Regional Police and Peel Police Services Board shut it down anyway. 

She was horrified to learn that 17-year-old Jonathan Davis was killed in the shootout.


The Malton Community Police Station closed last year


“When I found out they were closing the police station at Westwood Square I had a little meltdown,” Parrish told The Pointer. “I met with [Chief Jennifer Evans] on Oct. 18 2017; she brought out some little maps and little charts that showed me that reporting of crime had gone down considerably, and crime had gone down considerably, in a doughnut circle around Westwood Square.” 

She wants a full stand-alone police division to be reopened in the area, a position that has garnered support from others, including Brampton Councillor Gurpreet Dhillon, who grew up in Malton. “Unfortunately, gun violence has plagued this community for much too long,” he tweeted. “I will support @carolynhparrish at @regionofpeel Council for a police station.”

Peel Regional Police did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

Sadly, that shooting was not to be a one-off. The wee hours of Tuesday saw a Mississauga man wounded in a targeted shooting as he got into his Mercedes Benz, which was riddled with bullets. It was the fourth shooting incident for Peel police in as many days, prompting federal Mississauga-Streetsville incumbent Gagan Sikand to comment that, “too many Canadians have had to hear the news that a friend or loved one has been the victim of gun violence.” 


A Peel police van points south toward the area where the shooters arrived from on Sept. 14.


The neighbourhood where Saturday’s shooting took place is a primarily low-income residential area, largely populated by immigrants. The 2016 census figures show that 59 percent of Malton’s residents were born outside of Canada, with a population of 22,835 people at the time. Housing affordability is all too commonly precarious in the area as well. Roughly 36 percent of households spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. That is higher than Mississauga as a whole, where the average was 31 percent of households.

While Evans’ own crime data leading up to 2017 suggested crime was going down in the area, that is of little comfort to the residents who live there now. Ron Williams lives in the building immediately north of where the shooting took place. The 89-year-old is hard of hearing, so he did not hear the gunshots, nor did he see anything. He only found out about the shooting when he saw the heavy police presence the next day. For Williams, who has been living in the same place since 2005, the shooting was just more of the same. 

“Since I’ve been here, at least four or five deaths happened back there,” Williams said, pointing to the Darcel Avenue building. “Almost every weekend, cops are chasing [suspects] through here. It’s dangerous over there, that’s why I don’t go over there.”


Bullet holes riddled the surrounding buildings following the shooting, which saw more than 100 rounds discharged.


He says he is not aware of gang activity as such—he lives alone and tends to keep to himself—but he said he has been held up twice by the youth of the area in Elmcreek Park, directly behind where he lives. “They definitely need police here.”

Jolanta is a single mother of three who lives a few buildings down from where the shooting happened. She heard the gunshots ring out across the neighbourhood. She is sure there are gangs in the area and says illegal drugs and homeless people are a fixture in the area. 

“This area is the poorest neighbourhood of Mississauga. Nobody is investing or taking care, or thinking about this area,” she told The Pointer while on the way to work. “[There are] so many gangs. They move from Jane and Finch to our buildings.”

It appears the need for a police station in Malton is evident. Yet a string of emails shows that members of the Peel Police Services Board were dismissive about Parrish’s pleas to keep it. Former chief Evans cited as one reason to close it the high rent for the station, which in 2018 was $15,430 compared to $3,500 for Square One and $661 at Cassie Campbell Community Centre. Evans said she couldn’t justify paying the high rent when crime was on the decline in the area, according to her own statistics. 



“It would have been professionally and politically appropriate to have consulted before a vote was taken, to let us know the closure was being considered,” Parrish responded to Evan’s assertion in an email about the lack of consultation on the decision. “No matter how good our police services are, a high-handed approach does little to reassure the community that we are part of a sensible, thoughtful process.”

Former police board chair Amrik Ahluwalia, in an email to Parrish, threw his support behind Evans on this issue, as he believed her move was “an evidence-based recommendation that the officers required to staff the community station could better serve the people of Malton by being redeployed into the community. The Board agreed with this recommendation and voted unanimously to support the change.”


Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, centre


Ahluwalia went on to describe the closure of the Malton station as being the “12th community station closed since 2010.” As did Evans, he justified the move as reflecting the general downturn of crime in Mississauga and needing to “deploy resources in a manner that best meets the changing needs of a growing community.”

“I think we need a full division, and we need the presence of the police right there in the mall,” Parrish said. “I’ve spoken to the mall. They have space. They have outdoor access, they have parking access for a half-station or a half-division, so we’re working on that.”


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