Today Toronto Police Chief William Blair laid out the service's plans to increase the police presence in the city after a summer of gun violence. This action will take place during July, August and up to when the youth in the city go back to school.
"I don't want people worrying about their safety as they go around the city of Toronto," Chief William Blair said during the question period of a media announcement laying out plans to decrease gun violence in the city.
During an hour-long press conference Chief William Blair, Toronto Police Service, discussed what will be happening within his service for the rest of the summer. Those plans are to ramp up the police presence on the streets of Toronto, with more officers on the streets connecting with the community and looking for the ones living in Toronto that have created a wave of fear.
Blair said that the police will be working within their budget. His officers will be working longer and harder at planned events. Expect more police at public events and in areas in the city where there has been violence going on. Some of the funds for the guns and gangs unit given to the service from Ontario government will be part of this budget.
The officers will be working longer shifts. Blair said that the service will be making sure that his officers are not burning out as they put in more hours.
Working with police partners from around the GTA the Toronto Police will be able to work at getting those criminals who have shown they don't care about others when it comes to gun violence. Blair said that the service will be working with their community partners.
"When we work together we can all be more successful," Blair said. It's a complex relationship that requires trust with the police. Often there is a strained relationship between these community programs and the police that has to be worked on. Without gaining trust the Toronto Police will not be able to do their job as well as they can. This partnership includes working with Toronto Community Housing.
Chief Blair said that the intent is to over protect our community not over police the city. Consulting with agencies that represent the community, the police are working to increase the community building while insuring the safety of the community.
Blair said that there is a cost associated with this program but that cost will be kept within the city's budget for the one month period.
Working with those on the front lines in the community the goal for Toronto Police is to stop the violence and get guns off the streets of Toronto. Youth outreach workers are a part of this programing, going out in the community to create dialogue.
Chief Blair said, "Community safety is a shared responsibility. If you know a young person with a gun tell us. You have to let us know."
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly said that there has been an increase in gang violence in the city. When the violence increased the police have been targeting high risk offenders with an increased police pretense. Sloly said that Social Media is a platform for the Toronto Police, one of the largest in North America. Social Media assists in intelligence gathering and in community building.
"The public should know that we have police in public place and in virtual places," Sloly said adding that the recent Crime Stoppers APP has been very successful.
These deployments will be intelligence-lead focusing on the highest risks as well as every day policing. The Toronto Police will be looking for the community to help them make this summer a successful one. Without the knowledge of the community, the police can only do half of their job.