Police say that they plan to deploy additional officers to Chinatown over the coming weeks as part of an annual crime prevention campaign.

The 10-week campaign, dubbed Operation Blue Hog, will begin on April 22 and focus on a range of crime prevention issues, such as theft from autos, shoplifting, panhandling, public intoxication and drug use.

According to a news release, police will be conducting additional patrols in the Chinatown area throughout the campaign and will proactively visit local businesses to “review crime prevention issues.”

They will also be holding workshops and presentations in the neighbourhood to provide information to seniors about protecting themselves from scams. Those presentations will be officered conducted in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

“It is not only about high visibility because high visibility has always been part of our game plan when working in neighbourhoods but it is also about getting inside of the community in terms of their residences and businesses and educating them about this relationship,” Inspector Matthew Moyer said during a news conference in the Dundas Street West and Huron Street area on Wednesday morning. “This relationship will only work if our partners know first and foremost how to help themselves and secondly support the Toronto police.”

Campaign comes amid spike in break-and-enters

Moyer said that police have observed a spike in smash-and-grab style robberies from Chinatown businesses so far this year and will be looking to remind business owners about the importance of hiding computer equipment and leaving their cash registers open so would-be robbers know that there are no valuables inside.

He said that police have also identified five areas in Chinatown where graffiti exists and will be painting it over and replacing it with murals celebrate Chinese heritage that will be painted by students from the community.

“We believe that people will be more respectful if they see that up there and will be less likely to tag it,” he said.