File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Toronto police will add 200 frontline officers to the night shift this summer in an effort to reduce gun violence in the city. Toronto police chief Mark Saunders and Toronto mayor John Tory are seen at a news conference at TPS headquarters in Toronto. Saunders said officers will be dispatched to areas that require them and noted that neighbourhoods will not be saturated with police.

Toronto will add 200 officers to night shift to curb shootings

Toronto plans to add 200 frontline officers to the night shift over the summer in an effort to reduce gun violence, the city’s police chief said Thursday while the mayor promised new funds for community programs to help at-risk youth.

The announcements from Police Chief Mark Saunders and Mayor John Tory come as the city grapples with a string of recent shootings, including several in busy areas.

Saunders said the additional officers who will be on the job between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. will be sent to areas that need them, and noted that neighbourhoods will not be saturated with police.

“It’s about being focused and strategic in our deployment,” he said. “This is not about turning communities upside down. That will never be the intention.”

As of Sunday, there were 212 shootings in the city this year, with 26 people killed, according to police. In 2017, there were 188 shooting resulting in 17 deaths by this time of the year.

The police force knows who the major players are when it comes to gangs, and officers will work with communities on “intelligence-led” efforts to combat gun crime, Saunders said.

The chief also noted that the policing approach will be different to similar officer increases in the past.

In 2006 more police were deployed to neighbourhoods that saw crime increases under the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS), which was criticized for unnecessarily stopping people of colour. That officer increase came after 359 people were shot, with 52 killed, by the end of 2005 — the year that Toronto experienced the so-called “Summer of the Gun.”

“The difference between then versus now, it’s not just about the enforcement entity, it’s about the preventative pieces and the rehabilitation,” Saunders said. “You don’t police with one template and say this is what the entire city needs to do.”

The new officers will be in place by June 20, with the increased staffing lasting for an eight-week period, Saunders said. After that, police will re-evaluate their needs, he said.

The staffing change is expected to cost up to $3 million, with the funds coming from the province, Saunders said. A spokesman for Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services said Premier Doug Ford’s government has made a commitment to restore funding for anti-guns and anti-gangs initiatives and to ensure police have resources they need.

In total, $15 million — a mix of funds from all three levels of government — has been earmarked for efforts to curb gun violence in the city, said Tory, noting that some of the money will go to community programs aimed at preventing youth from joining gangs.

“We will flow money into communities where we know youth need help and support,” Tory said, noting that funds will go to organizations with proven track records. The mayor cited YouthWorx, a program by Toronto Community Housing that employs young people in various fields, as one potential funding recipient.

Just Posted

Eight dogs found in Innisfail hotel room were kept in cages

Eight dogs, kept in cages in a small hotel room in Innisfail… Continue reading

Severe thunderstorm watch for Central Alberta

Thunderstorm watch covers large area including Sylvan Lake to Stettler

Bird on a wire causes electrical problems in Red Deer

City workers put protective covers on line

WATCH: Kayakers go over Ram Falls south of Nordegg

Two take 30-metre plunge, post video of thrill ride

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps, shortcomings at Royal Military College

OTTAWA — Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at… Continue reading

Premiers strike deal to allow increased flow of beer, alcohol across borders

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. — Canada’s premiers are set to wrap up their… Continue reading

Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs

President Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to hit every product… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month