Toronto headed toward surpassing last year's record number of shootings
Over the course of 2019, a year in which Toronto had the most shootings since it began keeping records, the city was forced to confront its very sobering gun violence problem — and it's a problem that hasn't let up, despite a global pandemic, months of relative lockdown and the federal government tightening gun laws.
It's hard to imagine that, in 2020, we could surpass the 492 shootings and 284 gun-related injuries or deaths we saw on Toronto streets last year, but it seems that experts feel we're pretty on track to do so.
The Toronto Police Association tweeted as much on Thursday morning, saying that incidents of gun violence have been "a daily occurrence" in recent months and that at this rate, Toronto may end up breaking last year's record.
As of the most recent data from Aug. 17, which was 230 days into the year, Toronto police logged 274 shootings and firearm discharge incidents in 2020, with 125 documented injuries or deaths as a result.
Just last night, emergency services tended to at least eight people who were injured in four separate gun-related crimes, two of which took place in North Etobicoke, one in North York and one in Church-Wellesley. These numbers are not yet included in the year-to-date stats.
Earlier this summer, spates of multiple shootings and stabbings over the course of single nights were not rare, on top of the brazen daylight shootings that took place in mall parking lots (not one, but three), and on busy downtown thoroughfares, and the daytime shooting of rapper Houdini in front of the Bisha Hotel in the bustling Entertainment District.
#Toronto is on track to surpass its count of shootings from 2019. There have been around 250 shootings so far in 2020, and about 220 shootings by this time in 2019. There are many calls for shots fired across the city that media don't even cover anymore, unless someone is hurt. pic.twitter.com/1yoGKZlYkt— Jeremy Cohn (@JeremyCohnTV) July 23, 2020
The problem has been the worst in 31 Division, which has had 40 discharges so far this year and which services the North York neighbourhoods such as Black Creek, York University Heights and Downsview.
Divisions 32 (also North York), 42 (Agincourt, Malvern and Rouge area) and 43 (Scarborough) have also had higher numbers than others.
But such incidents have taken place all over the city, and far too often — we even kicked off the year with a fatal double shooting in Regent Park.
274 shootings in Toronto to date in 2020, 124 persons killed/injured.— Naomi🇨🇦 (@NaomiWong1984) August 16, 2020
148 shootings since May 1st, 2020, 8 more for May, Jun, July than for the same 3 months last year. And this is during a pandemic.
So your gun ban is working pretty well, I assume.https://t.co/5OhtZ5QXEn
Mayor John Tory continues to ask the federal and provincial governments for further support to tackle the problem, though it seems that last year's multi-billion-dollar plans to crack down on gun violence and street gangs haven't been as successful as expected.
In a time when residents are calling for the defunding of police more than ever and substantial reforms to the force are passing, we'll have to wait and see how violent crimes — as well as law enforcement's preventive measures against them, and responses to them — shape up over the remainder of this extremely unfortunate year.
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