Doug Ford criticizes Toronto's response to violence on the TTC
Premier Doug Ford is criticizing Toronto's plan aimed at addressing the unprecedented spike in violent crimes on the TTC over the past few weeks.
The premier's comments come a day after the Toronto Police Service announced that there will be an increased presence of officers in the city's transit system in response to the recent wave of violent attacks.
Chief Myron Demkiw announced the plan, which aims to have upwards of 80 police officers in place throughout the TTC every day. The positions will be filled by off-duty officers in an overtime capacity.
"These deployments will focus on reducing victimization, preventing crimes of opportunity and enhancing public safety," Demkiw said. "Given this, our deployments will be dynamic and may change from day-to-day."
Toronto Police devoting more staff to patrol TTC as violence spins out of control https://t.co/OkWCJ2jl0v #Toronto #TorontoPolice #TTC— blogTO (@blogTO) January 26, 2023
In an unrelated press conference on Friday, Ford called the plan a "Band-Aid solution."
"It's really unfortunate, we live in such a beautiful city," Ford said. "We need full-time police officers because right now, we're really relying on the existing police officers to come in and sign up for the callbacks."
Ford acknowledged that violence on the TTC is a multi-layered issue, and will require more solutions beyond increased policing. The premier noted his government's $3.8-billion investment in mental health services over 10 years, as well as its RoadMap to Wellness initative.
Mayor John Tory said on Thursday that deploying more police officers in the system during a time of anxiety is simply "the right thing to do."
However, many commuters have criticized the plan, instead attributing the root of the problem to lack of mental health support and inadequate housing in the city.
Just this past week, a TTC passenger was shot at with a replica/BB gun at York University Subway station, a woman was violently robbed of her purse at Broadview station, a pair of TTC workers were chased by an assailant wielding a syringe at Dundas station, a 16-year-old was stabbed on a bus at Old Mill station, and a woman stabbed a female victim on a Spadina streetcar.
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