Shootings in Toronto up 38% from last year

A young, pregnant mother gunned down while waiting in a vehicle and a targeted midtown hit in what’s considered an “upscale” neighbourhood have punctuated what many residents have suspected: gun violence is up. Now data from the Toronto Police backs the assertion.
As of June 6, 2016 there have been 238 shootings, 66 more than the same time last year. The figure represents gun violence both with and without injury, but in all four measured categories the numbers are up relative to 2015. The sharpest spike is seen where the status of injury is unknown: a 283.3% increase from 18 to 69. Shootings involving death are up 122.2% (from nine to 20) year-to-date.

Amid the spray of bullets police and politicians find themselves under fire from the public to curb the gun violence. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti proposed a gun amnesty/buyback program that would allow residents to turn in their weapons for grocery vouchers without fear of prosecution.

READ MORE: Mayor John Tory asks federal government to tighten US-Canada border to stop the flow of illegal guns

The head of the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee, Cesar Palacio, wants the province to suspend the liquor licenses of businesses where illegal gun activity has become a chronic problem – effectively shutting them down by targeting a lucrative source of revenue. His motion passed with unanimous support from Council and includes “proactive enforcement measures” that Canada’s restaurant association fears would unfairly target some businesses.

“If someone is shot in a car you can’t say the car is the problem. It’s the situation,” protested James Rilett, Vice-President of Ontario operations.

And as the season shifts and temperatures rise, so too the sense of fear among some residents that this summer could mirror the violence in 2005, infamously dubbed the “Summer of the Gun.” But crime experts say it’s still too early to predict whether that pattern will play out. The recent media spotlight has focused police efforts and resources, and politicians of all three levels of government seem determined to collaborate on a solution.

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