Toronto sees decline in gun violence compared to its peak five years ago

Written by  Prerit Chauhan   |  December 26th 2023 04:44 PM  |  Updated: December 26th 2023 04:44 PM

Toronto sees decline in gun violence compared to its peak five years ago

PTC Web Desk: Gun violence in Toronto has continued its decline in 2023, marking a positive shift from the record-high levels witnessed five years ago.

According to the Toronto Police Service's public safety data portal, there were 469 shootings and firearm discharges causing harm to 270 individuals by the end of 2019. Fast forward to December 20, 2023, and these figures have decreased by approximately 30%, with 326 incidents and 153 people affected.

Supt Steve Watts from Toronto's police organised crime enforcement unit highlights the significance of this decrease, contrasting it with rising shootings and homicides in other Canadian and US jurisdictions. Watts attributes Toronto's success partly to strategies focused on detection, intervention, and prevention of gun-related incidents.

The decline in gun violence has not only resulted in fewer victims, but has also contributed to a higher rate of solved shooting cases, which previously stood at 15% pre-2019 and now exceeds 50% this year.

However, the challenge remains in sustaining this downward trend through social and community programmes, continuous multi-sectoral efforts, and public engagement. Watts emphasises the importance of such measures, particularly for at-risk youth susceptible to organised crime.

Louis March, leader and founder of the Zero Gun Movement advocacy group, commends the federal government's role in increasing border patrols to curb the illegal transportation of firearms into the country. He also acknowledges the collaborative approach involving various sectors, aligning with Toronto's SafeTO plan initiated in 2021, emphasising the dissolution of working in isolation among these sectors.

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