Amidst a week plagued with gun violence, which saw Toronto set an all-time record of 95 homicides, the federal government has announced more than $7 million in funding to address gun violence in the city.
The funding will go towards supporting two community-based initiatives in the city.
Bill Blair, the federal minister in charge of organized crime, made the announcement following a meeting with Mayor John Tory at city hall on Thursday morning.
Combating violence in our city requires a coordinated effort from all levels of government. Today, the federal government is doing their part, announcing investment in our Life Skills to Succeed Program, and the Community Healing Project for Crime Prevention and Intervention. pic.twitter.com/4TV36LLiif
— John Tory (@JohnTory) December 20, 2018
The largest chunk of money, approximately $6.76 million over five years, will go to the City of Toronto for the Community Healing Project for Crime Prevention and Intervention, which is aimed at addressing the root causes of youth gang involvement.
Another $400,000 over two years will go to the Toronto Police Service to enhance the Neighbourhood Officers Program in eight priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. This program will see officers in eight designated neighbourhoods connect with approximately 360 at-risk youth by leading six-month long skill development sessions.
“On behalf of all Toronto residents, I want to thank the federal government for recognizing the importance of these programs and providing the funding to support them,” said Mayor Tory.
“This is a key step forward to implement our plan to curb gun violence in the city, and we look forward to continue working with our partners to support young people, families, and neighbourhoods.”
The announcement comes after a series of shootings in a 48-hour period across the city, including Toronto’s 94th and 95th homicides of 2018, a record for killings in a single year. The city’s previous record, 89, was set in 1991.
The most recent comes the day after a drive-by shooting occurred in front of a Toronto public school near Jane and Finch. Luckily no injuries were reported.
As of Friday, December 14, there has been nearly 400 shootings in the city, up slightly from the 371 reported shootings in 2017, according to the Toronto Police Crime Statistics Database.
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