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RSS FeedsHow Toronto police hope to avoid another summer of the gun in 2019
(The Star Religion)


18 may 2019 14:56:51

How Toronto police hope to avoid another summer of the gun in 2019
(The Star Religion)

It was a warm June afternoon in 2018 when a barrage of bullets flew through a busy playground in Scarborough’s Alton Towers Circle, striking two sisters. Aged 5 and 9, the girls were rushed to hospital and survived — but are deeply impacted.“You know what she said to me that day?” Stacey King, the girls’ mother, told the public health board in a passionate deputation last July. Her 5-year-old, shot in the abdomen, had asked: “Mommy, am I going to die?”The girls have since recovered, but they “still have nightmares, and they’ll never forget what happened,” King said this week. The after-school playground shooting was only the first brazen gunfire unleashed in a public space that prompted citywide safety concerns last summer. Over the Canada Day long weekend, three people were shot dead, two of the victims killed in a daylight eruption of gunfire on a busy stretch of Queen St.Facing mounting public pressure to control the rash of gunfire, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders and Mayor John Tory announced their “gun violence strategic plan,” which included $3 million to send 200 additional officers throughout the city at times when shootings are most likely to occur.Ahead of the Victoria Day weekend, with summer fast approaching — a season when gun violence trends upwards — the Star sat down with Saunders to discuss plans to reduce gun violence across the city, and spoke with experts and advocates about what’s needed for the longer term.How violent has 2019 been so far?As of May 13, the most recent available numbers, there have been 129 shootings in the city this year, according to publicly available Toronto police data. That’s slightly less than the year-to-date shootings in the last three years: 2018 (136), 2017 (133) and 2016 (134). But it’s well above 2015’s year-to-date statistic, when just 88 shootings occurred in the city. Shooting homicides are slightly ...
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