Police are Warning Residents Not to do This During Emergencies

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If you’ve ever witnessed an emergency or a crime in Brampton - whether it was a fire or a stick brawl - one of your first instincts might have been to pull out your phone and film it.

While pictures and videos may sometimes be helpful in police investigations, Peel police recently warned residents not to do this in an emergency.

Peel Regional Police frequently tweet emergencies in Brampton and Mississauga, and in a house fire incident in Brampton on Sept. 16, the media officers tweeted for residents to stay away from the fire.

Reports are being received that there are a lot of pedestrians trying to get close to the home to get the ideal picture or video,” reads the tweet.

Please don’t do that. Allow emergency services unimpeded access to extinguish the fire.”

Some residents responded, unimpressed.

While it might have been inappropriate to take photos and videos up close in that situation, another situation has police worried, too.

In a recent string of stick brawls in Brampton parking lots, videos circulated across social media of the fights, yet it took some time for police to catch the aggressors.

On June 22, 2018, Brampton MPs Kamal Khera, Sonia Sidhu, and Ruby Sahota brought this major issue to the Peel Police Services Board to discuss what exactly is being done about youth brawls in Brampton.

We know that several incidents of youth fighting in Shoppers World plaza and Sheridan College area has recently been reported,” said Khera.

Videos of these brawls are widely circulated on social media and many community members are concerned about the escalating violence.”

We have received more than hundreds of calls and emails as the community is beginning to feel that nothing is being done to ensure that they’re safe and secure. This is not the Brampton we know.”

While there is a lot on the table and the conversation has just begun on practical solutions to combat youth violence in Brampton, there is one aspect of this issue that’s potentially more concerning than any other.

People are recording these youth brawls and putting them up on social media, but in many cases, no one is contacting the police while the fights are happening.

The concern we’re having with Peel police is people are video taping and recording and putting it on YouTube instead of calling the police, which is really what we need people to do, because that way, we can respond, and we can make arrests while people are still there, and that way we can seize the video evidence to be used in court,” said police Chief Jennifer Evans at the meeting.

So, while pictures and videos may be appropriate in some situations - like taking a video of a fight after calling police - it’s not so appropriate in others - like when someone’s house is on fire and residents are getting too close.

When it comes to brawls, several of the aggressors have now been caught, and police are urging the community to report any violent activity to police immediately.

You can report an incident or any information directly to 22 Division Criminal Investigators Bureau at 905-453-2121 ext. 2233. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca.

As a general rule of thumb, it might be best to call police to report an incident prior to recording it, and stay far away from fires.

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