$1.5M in funding approved for police efforts to curb gun violence in Toronto

Oct 3 2019, 8:59 am

As gun violence continues to plague Toronto, city council has voted to approve $1.5 million in funding for police in addition to calling on the federal government for a national ban on handguns.

During a council meeting on Wednesday, councillors approved a $1.5 million contribution that will go toward the Toronto Police Service’s budget to fund a program aimed at curbing gun violence in the city.

The money is the city’s share of a $4.5 million program entitled Project Community Space.

Project Community Space program, which was launched by the Toronto Police Service in August, is an 11-week, intelligence-led project that has already seen a 30% decrease in shooting events compared to the six weeks prior to the start of the project, according to the city.

The federal and provincial governments have already committed $1.5 million each to the program.

“City council sent a strong message today that we support our Toronto Police officers as they work to stop gun and gang violence in our city,” said Mayor John Tory in a statement.

“We also continue to urge the federal and provincial governments to invest in kids and families in our communities to address the roots of violence and to advocate for changes to our gun and bail laws to strengthen penalties for those caught engaging in gun violence and gun trafficking.”

As part of Wednesday’s meeting, council also voted 21-3 to call on the federal government again to ban handguns nationwide, not just in cities that request handgun restrictions, according to councillor Joe Cressy.

According to the city, councillors voted to “ban the availability, sale, possession, and use of handguns across Canada, with the exception of the Canadian Armed Forces, police services, or other entity that is authorized to possess firearms with legal obligations imposed by the municipal, provincial, and federal governments.”

A motion was also approved that expressed council’s support for the Canadian government to approve increased bail restrictions and tougher sentences for those charged and convicted of gun offences.

There have been 342 shootings in Toronto this year to date, resulting in 29 people killed and 165 people injured, according to the Toronto Police Service public safety data portal.