Toronto is looking to provincial and federal governments for help combating the city’s growing gun violence problem.
According to the Globe and Mail, Mayor John Tory seeks a meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and federal Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale to come up with a strategy to deal with the sudden increase in gang-related shootings this year. While Tory continues to assert that Toronto is still ‘one of the safest cities’ in the world, he also expresses “grave concern” for the 208 shootings that have occurred so far.
Tory is working to implement a couple of changes to tackle the problem head on, including hiring 200 new police officers by the end of the year, pushing the province to enforce stricter bail guidelines for those arrested with guns, and asking the federal government to offer its $328-million of anti-gun crime fund to the city as soon as possible.
However, it’s clear that there’s no surefire solution for ending the shootings, which Toronto Police say are “90 per cent” gang-related.
“I’ve seen the police union president out there pretending that the entire answer to this rests in hiring more police officers. Other people are suggesting the entire answer rests in bringing back carding. I think that anybody who suggests to the people of Toronto that they have the entire answer in one little slogan or one little policy proposal is misleading the people of Toronto and giving them false hopes. It’s a very complicated issue,” says Tory.
A total of 10 people have fallen victim to shootings within the last five days in Toronto, some of which were not the intended targets of the perpetrators. An incident in the Entertainment District on Saturday took the lives of Jahvante Smart, 21 (also known as Smoke Dawg) and Enerest Modekwe, 28). A day later, four people were injured and rushed to hospital after shots were fired in Kensington Market. Another man was also shot on Tuesday, near King Street and Portland Street.
“Obviously, when people do not feel safe, when they feel that random attacks can take lives and cause serious injuries to innocent people just walking down the street and minding their own business, obviously that’s a deep concern,” said Ralph Goodale.