There was a palatable sense of relief in the Brant community when city police on Saturday announced that a suspect in the vicious assault on a 24-year-old woman near Market Street South and Clarence Street last Thursday had been taken into custody.
Brantford Police Service major crime investigators – who deserve much credit for the swift apprehension of the suspect – arrested a 21-year-old city man in relation to the crime, charging him with aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault. Considering the fact that the victim did not know her attacker, there was a sense of worry prior to Saturday’s arrest that others in the community might be at risk.
The description of the incident did not leave much room for comfort: a 24-year-old woman walking in the area of the FreshCo grocery store at 50 Market St. S. at about 2 a.m. on Thursday was attacked and sexually assaulted by a man earlier seen acting aggressively and banging on the windows of the closed grocery store. The victim was able to attend a nearby business and contact emergency services.
While the Thursday assault made headlines, it was just one incident in what has been a busy past 11 days for the Brantford Police Service.
Also last Thursday, Brantford police began an investigation after a robbery at the King George Road CIBC branch. Shortly before 10 a.m., a man entered the bank and passed a note to a teller indicating he had a gun and wanted cash. Police say the suspect received an undisclosed amount of money and walked out of the bank. While no gun or other weapon was seen by bank employees, the incident was undoubtably a harrowing experience.
On Tuesday, Brantford police issued a reminder to residents to secure their properties following 13 reports of residential and garage break and enters since last Friday.
Some other incidents Brantford police officers have responded to during recent days:
- Last Friday, police arrested a 23-year-old Park Avenue man in connection to a string of robberies from parked cars, a crime certainly not uncommon in the City of Brantford. Officers on patrol discovered the man rummaging through a vehicle parked in a driveway on Brewster Way after receiving a call from an alert resident. The suspect faces six charges of possession of stolen property under $5,000 and four counts of theft under $5,000, among other charges.
- Last Wednesday, Aug. 8, a 15-year-old female was charged with obstructing police, breach of recognizance and possession of stolen property under $5,000 after being found driving a freshly painted stolen car. The arrest came on the heels of statistics showing Brantford as Ontario’s car theft capital.
- In the early morning of Tuesday, Aug. 7, police attended a Dalhousie Street construction site following a report of fire. A 23-year-old Brantford man was charged with arson (as well as other offences) after he was discovered near a building under construction with burn injuries on his face and right arm. That incident came on the heels of a string of arsons in the city this year.
- Lastly, police say the owner of an Aberdeen Avenue home was sitting on their front porch with a visitor on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 6, when an unwelcome guest made an unannounced entrance through the home’s unlocked back door. A ladies wallet containing ID and cash was stolen from the residence before the intruder was chased out of the home.
Combined, these incidents surely have Brant residents wondering about crime in their community and potentially even questioning their safety. While Brant remains a generally safe place to live and work, the above crimes do offer reason for reflection. Perhaps it was just a bad 11 days but, if the trend continues, we may have some difficult questions to ask ourselves about how to lessen instances of crime in our community.