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Over 450 arrests made, 247 guns seized in Project Community Space

Last Updated Dec 13, 2019 at 3:01 pm EST

Toronto police say they arrested 463 people, laid over 1,100 charges and seized just under 250 firearms during a 15-week initiative to address gun violence in Toronto.

Project Community Space increased police visibility in high-risk areas and focused the officers on making arrests, enforcing bail and getting guns off the streets.

Each level of government provided $1.5 million dollars towards the initiative that took place during the summer.

Toronto police Superintendent Steve Watts called the project “successful” and said the specialized approach allowed them to take 247 guns, “off the streets and out of reach of those who sue them for criminal activity.”

Watch the full update below.

Of the 1,145 charges laid, 317 were firearms-related.

Bail compliance was also a large part of the initiative and 97 of those arrested during the project were out on bail for firearm-related charges, 16 of which are now facing new firearm offences.

Officers also worked in communicates and made 89 referrals to people looking for help including to the Gang Exit program, Youth Diversion Program and Focus Tables.

Also as a result of the initiative, TPS is implement new shift schedules that will allow officers to respond quicker to calls, increase community safety and engagement activities, and increase proactive policing and enforcement.

It will be funded by the reallocation of existing funds. Police chief Mark Saunders is expected announce more details at a later date.

“Moving forward as a Service, and with support of our partners, we are developing a sustainable and more robust strategy to address gun violence with an approach that is proactive, preventative and response focused, to keep our communities safe,” said Watts.

The Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force also hosted 17 gang prevention town halls and 14 more will be held in December and in 2020.

As of Dec. 8, there have been 457 shootings with 699 victims in 2019, an increase of 68 incidents with 150 more victims over last year.