01/29/2015 06:01 EST | Updated 03/31/2015 05:59 EDT

Violent robberies on the rise in Scarborough

Police are reminding Scarborough residents to be on guard amid a rash of violent street robberies. 

Robberies in north Scarborough — most notably around Finch Avenue East between McCowan and Markham roads — are a rising problem, according to investigators. 

More than 200 attacks have taken place in the past year, some targeting TTC riders. 

Many suspects have since been arrested. But Det. Sgt. Gerry Heaney of 42 Division said the overall level of violence in such robberies is increasing. 

"In some of these robberies there's been knives and guns put to people's heads. There's been force used to get purses from women's shoulders — where they've been knocked to the ground. They've been kicked, about the body, about the head." 

The attacks often take place near shopping centres and transit routes, and often target women distracted by earbuds or other devices. 

Police and CrimeStoppers on Thursday released a short video, reminding pedestrians — and particularly woman — to be aware of their surroundings and request stops in well-lit areas close to home when riding the bus. 

Police say many attackers followed women off of buses.