If you're a Torontonian who's afraid to walk the city streets at night, you aren't the only one. You have good reason to be scared. There have been 81 murders in the city so far this year compared to a total of 66 last year.
Gun violence has a lot to do with that staggering number. The city has seen over 300 shooting this year. In response, the Ontario government announced that they would commit $25 million over five years to address the problem.
I don’t get this!!! Number of gun related injuries and homicides are raising by day and we are shrinking the number of officers? Are we aiming to be like Chicago in regards to number of homicides? Stupid!— A&K (@Toronto4620) September 28, 2018
While the government seems to be committed to addressing gun and gang violence in the city, people don't think Toronto police are doing the same. It was announced Thursday that they planned to cut their number of gun and gang units so that they could be "reorganized" police spokesperson, Meaghan Gray told CP24.
She continued by saying the 12 units that are currently dedicated to fighting drug and gun violence has been responsible for more than 625 arrests, 160 gun seizures and almost half a million grams of illegal drugs. However, she also stated the units have been seeing a reduction in numbers due to retirement and reassignment.
Ford and Tory not to blame as more money has been given to the police for this area of policing. It is straight up the Police Chief and Police Services Board that are to blame for this. I feel sorry for residents of Toronto.— John Harris (@JohnHar74476734) September 28, 2018
This information all comes days before the city's Nuit Blanche weekend. For years, the event which typically consists of intoxicated partiers running the streets has been an issue with police.
Back in 2015, the Toronto police chief him, Mark Saunders called the event "violent" and "disturbing. That year, police were called to a number of incidents including a gun call as well as a stabbing. In 2013, the event even resulted in a murder.
What are you doing with the additional funding? So much violence, gun warfare and gang activity on Toronto streets and you reduce the front line of defence!— Happydays (@Happyda73176532) September 28, 2018
As reported by The Globe and Mail, the 12 units which consist of roughly six or seven officers, will be cut down to eight units.
Toronto Mayor, John Tory is not pleased with the news. “I’m not happy about it quite frankly because we have a challenge in front of us right now – a serious challenge – and we have money, extra money that has come from the government of Ontario and extra money that the city itself has put in and so I’m going to be looking for some explanation," he said in a statement on Thursday night.
I never expected these liberal bootlicking fools to police properly.— sullivan mccarty (@SullivanMccarty) September 28, 2018
I hope all the police chief jobs go to civilians from now on. The upper brass of police are more political & slimy than anyone.
RCMP commissioner is civilian, time to follow suit for transparency.
He's not the only one who's angry. Torontonians have been taking to Twitter spilling their fear and outrage over the police force's decision. The obvious question that comes to mind is, "When shootings and homicides are on the rise, why are police units on the decline?" City residents see the plan as a complete step backward.
At a police service board meeting today, Tory is expected to ask the questions that everyone in the city wants answers to. Where are the extra millions dedicated to addressing gun violence going? What happened to the promises of beefing up police presence? If the 12 units were performing so well, why are they being cut?
Last year, a study by The Economist determined Toronto was the 4th safest country in the world. Currently, Maclean's has analyzed it to be the 124th out of 229 most dangerous places in Canada. Residents don't feel safe, and I don't blame them.