As a wave of gun violence struck Toronto during the early summer, Toronto Police hit back by deploying more officers in areas of the city that were under siege by local gangs.
When gang members had a shoot out at Eaton Centre and later at a Danzig Street BBQ Toronto Police fought back.
Today Toronto Police Chief William Blair detailed the results of his service's Summer Safety Initiative saying that crime has been dramatically reduced across the city.
On July 26 after several mass shootings in Toronto Blair announced that the entire city of Toronto would have an increased police presence. From that day until September 9 crime was reduced in homicides, sexual assaults, assaults, robberies, break and enters, auto thefts and major thefts.
Total homicides: −62.2%. (Shooting homicides: −68.7%)
Sexual assaults: −12.8%
Auto theft: −53.6%
Theft over: −35.7%
Total offences: −28.7%
At the beginning of the summer Toronto residents were fearing the warm months would bring in another Summer of The Gun like in 2005. Today Blair said that in all gun-crime there was a significant decrease compared to 2005.
Total homicides: −78.9%.
Shooting homicides: −86.7%
Shooting occurrences: −57.8%
Shooting victims: −65.2%
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly said that there was a single goal of "to extra protection of our communities" and focused on place based management. This included extra officers in the TTC and in high crime areas of the city. Much of the initiative involved old school policing with officers getting out of their cars and walking their beats.
329 additional officers were deployed in the city. These officers were from all Divisions and units of the police service including traffic services. Toronto Police Deputy Chief Jane Wilcox said that some of those arrested this summer are now in special programs to decrease ongoing violence in the future.
Chief Blair said that since the beginning of the year there was a steady increase of shootings in the city. In July that began to decrease with the extra deployment. The results show that this initiative worked, making the city safer for residents and visitors.
"We talked about making an investment in the city," Blair said about when the program began, "Our neighbourhoods are safer because of the work that was done."
Blair said that the numbers show that working in partnership with the community success can be achieved.