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Toronto police to receive $4.5M to tackle increasing gun violence

Last Updated Aug 12, 2019 at 6:35 pm EDT

The Toronto Police Service will be receiving $4.5 million immediately from the municipal, provincial and federal governments in order to tackle the recent spike in gun violence.

After discussions with the Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair, Mayor John Tory says the funds will be used for immediate efforts to address the current violence.

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders will be outlining their plan to address the increase in shootings and to deploy additional resources with the new funds in the coming days.

Tory said the money will be on the streets in days so police can look, “into all kinds of techniques to get at the activities of street gangs who are associated with lots of these shootings and to enhance police presence in neighborhoods so people can be safe and fee safe and so that is what this money will do in the immediate short term, starting this week.”

Tory adds the funding will be used for overtime for police officers. “This will provide money through overtime so we have the police presence and they have the time available to them so they can get at the activities of these street gangs.”

However, Saunders told CityNews last week, securing overtime is not as simple a process as believed.

When he was asked whether they would be repeating the initiative last year that saw increased police presence in certain areas overnight for eight weeks, Saunders said, “It’s not that easy. Everyone thinks that I can turn that on, the reality is if I alter the shifts, there are certain circumstances that I can do that, I have to give a 5 week notice.”

Premier Doug Ford said in a statement, their $1.5 million contribution will come from the $25 million being invested over the next four years to fight gun and gang violence in Toronto.

“I’m proud we’re taking the necessary steps today to give our men and women in uniform the extra boost they need to go after these violent criminals. They have our backs and we will always have theirs.”

The news comes after a violent August long weekend that saw 17 gunshot victims in 14 shooting incidents.

Police have recorded 267 shootings with 401 victims as of Sunday night. That compares to 248 shootings with 336 victims at the same time last year.