After a violent summer, an update has been issued by Police Chief Mark Saunders on September 30 on Toronto Police's Project Community Space. Six weeks into the 11-week endeavor, police say that nearly 250 arrests and 525 charges have been laid in an effort to reduce gun violence in Toronto. The police probe, which started in August, and ends on Halloween, has been funded by all levels of government.

Saunders told a news conference that  "over the six weeks, shooting events have decreased 30 per cent compared to the six weeks prior to the start of this project,"  CP24 reports.

"The program includes monitoring bail compliance, enhanced engagement with communities, and increasing police presence and visibility in areas frequently associated with street gangs and gun violence", says the news release.

The same release states that firearms-related offenses accounted for 35 percent of the charges laid. Failure to comply with bail conditions made up 17 percent, and violent offences such as assault and sexual assault represented 11 per cent. A further 8 percent were for outstanding warrants.

Global News reported that the project cost $1.2 billion each from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. 

A bail enforcement surge was also undertaken, Saunders said, resulting in officers checking up on nearly 900 individuals who are currently out on bail.

12 individuals who were free on bail for firearm-related offenses were re-arrested.

“A lot of the criminals that know that we are out there are staying home,” Saunders said in the news conference, while also noting that members of the community have reported feeling safer as a result of the additional officers in their neighbourhoods.

“Being community-focused is a key element of the Service’s modernization, and this enhancement has allowed our officers to be where communities need us most,” he continued. “The increased visibility of officers, in their patrol cars and on foot in areas where street gangs are prevalent has been effective as a deterrent.”

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