The good news is a Toronto police blitz against gangs, guns and violent crime started in August, has decreased the number of shootings prior to its implementation by 30%.
The bad news is the blitz, called Project Community Space, which is funded by a total of $4.5 million from the federal, Ontario and city governments, ends Oct. 31.
That’s unfortunate because the most effective way to combat violent urban street crime in the short term is to increase the visible presence of police in high-crime areas on foot and in patrol cars.
This warns the bad guys the police are watching them — meaning more of them stay home and out of trouble — and bolsters the ability of police to gather intelligence on the criminals.
Police Chief Mark Saunders said Monday police have made 250 arrests and laid more than 500 charges in the first six weeks of the project, 35% related to gun crimes, 17% to bail violations and 11% to violent crimes such as robbery and sexual assault.
Police also checked up on almost 900 people out on bail and 12 were re-arrested who were out on bail for gun crimes.
The police initiative re-affirmed that most illegal guns used in crime today — 83% — are being smuggled in from the U.S., compared to the past where 50% were from domestic sources.
Judges (need) to use the laws we already have to come down hard on gun crime.
This by imposing stiff sentences and strict bail conditions reflecting society’s revulsion at armed criminals who randomly fire at each other over turf and drugs, while murdering and wounding innocent bystanders.
Long-term solutions like eliminating the root causes of street crime such as poverty need to be addressed in the long term.
But the best short-term solution when the bullets are flying, as this initiative shows, is to flood the zone with police.