This week, Toronto City Council adopted a report highlighting proposed crime prevention actions for investment by the City and other orders of government to address gun violence.
Council voted in favour of petitioning the other orders of government to:
• ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition in Toronto
• implement harsher penalties and mandatory-minimum sentences for gun traffickers
• implement tougher screening for mental health and intimate partner violence issues for licensed gun owners and those seeking to acquire firearm permits
• enact tougher penalties for those that commit offences with guns.
One of the key recommendations includes increased funding to expand City and Toronto Police Service initiatives already in place, including:
• Youth Violence Prevention Plan
• Community Crisis Response Program
• Toronto Youth Equity Strategy (TYES) programs
• Community Healing Project
• Toronto Youth Partnership and Employment Program (TYPE)
• Employment Connections – Youth Reach and Youth Works
• Youth recreation spaces, drop-in programs and the Toronto Sport Leadership Program
• Dan Harrison Pilot
• Public Safety CCTV program
• Gun Violence Reduction Plan
New initiatives to be developed and implemented include:
• Community/City/Police/gang violence intervention/interruption service model
• Youth violence intervention case management model
• Employment and mental health community resources
• Children’s mental health and trauma recovery resources
• Youth transitions program
• Use of ShotSpotter
In total, the City would look to secure and spend approximately $44 million to fund these expanded and new initiatives.
“We have a balanced plan to deal with gun violence and we are getting on with it,” said Mayor John Tory. “We are investing in communities and community-based organizations, we are creating more opportunities for young people, putting more police officers on the streets at key hours over the next two months while hiring 200 more officers this year and next year, and investing in technology to help Toronto Police do their job.”
“There are far too many people carrying around guns in our city and our region who should not have them. This week, I asked: Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all? I’m proud Council has supported bans on the sale of handguns and ammunition and urged much tougher laws to crack down on gun trafficking.”
City staff have already begun to implement city-funded actions, including a targeted proposal call released July 25 to community agencies that have a track record of working with vulnerable youth.
Up to $30 million will be requested from the federal government over a five-year period to support community prevention and intervention programming and $15 million from the provincial government to support enforcement initiatives. To help fund immediate initiatives, the City will apply for a further $1.05 million in federal government funding to immediately implement the Youth Violence Prevention initiatives and expand the Community Crisis Response Program.
The full report, which includes details about the existing and proposed initiatives, can be found on the City’s website at: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2018.CC44.14.
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