'Just don't do it': Crane climbers on the rise, York Regional Police say
Joshua Freeman, CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, June 12, 2017 5:31PM EDT
It appears that the urge to scale construction cranes did not stop with the high-profile rescue of one young woman in Toronto last month.
York Regional Police say they have responded to a number of incidents recently where young people have been caught climbing construction cranes and they are now issuing a warning that the behaviour is dangerous both for climbers and first responders.
“It seems almost crazy that we have to be here to warn people about the dangers of climbing cranes, construction cranes, but nevertheless here we are,” Const. Andy Pattenden told CP24 Monday after police issued a warning about the activity.
“People, primarily youths, have been climbing these multi-storey construction cranes,” Pattenden said. “It’s happening at night. They’re going out there, the reason for which we’re still not sure why they’re doing it – probably for thrill-seeking, something from YouTube. They’re gonna climb up and take a selfie at the top of these cranes.”
He said there were four incidents between May 22 and June 11 where young people were caught climbing cranes, sometimes in groups. The behavior has been seen in Richmond Hill, Whitchurch-Stouffville and Newmarket.
In all cases, the young people were charged with trespassing. In the most recent case in Newmarket on June 11, two 16-year-old boys were also charged with mischief.
“They’re not only putting themselves at risk – obviously falling 13 storeys could result in serious injury or even death – but they’re putting at risk first responders who may have to go up there and rescue them from the tops of these cranes,” Patten said.
He urged friends, family and teachers to warn those who might participate in crane climbing not to do it.
“Really it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed doing it. That’s why we’re sending the message – just don’t do it,” Pattenden said. “You could be looking at a criminal record even if you make it down safely.”
On April 26, a 22-year-old woman was charged with mischief after it took emergency crews more than four hours to rescue her from a crane in the area of Church and Wellesley streets. The rescue grabbed headlines and was carried live on television. However emergency responders said the complicated, lengthy rescue also put emergency personnel at risk and costs thousands of dollars.