Thursday, February 4, 2016
Shootings In Toronro Are Up Since Carding Was Suspended
Pressed by Mayor John Tory, then-Toronto Police chief Bill Blair instructed officers to stop using the controversial policing tool on Jan. 1, 2015.
In the 13 months since, there have been 293 shooting incidents involving what police categorize as 450 victims (not necessarily wounded), according to Toronto Police crime statistics.
Some were homicides and others were cases of people shooting in the air — but all were dangerous.
The question is how do you compare the statistics while there was still carding intelligence gathered and after the practice was halted?
Easy. Compare the statistics from 2014 when there were 178 shooting occurrences involving 243 victims to 2015, when there were 255 shooting occurrences involving 395 victims.
That’s 77 more shooting incidents — not to mention a difference of 140 victims — than the year previous when carding was still deemed appropriate.
In 2015, fatal stabbings were up 20% as well over the previous year.
Yet the latest spin is that no proof exists to back up Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack’s concern of “officers not having the ability to engage the public” and how that fact seems to be “having an impact on the numbers.”
Calling it “absurd,” a Toronto Star editorial said McCormack “recklessly linked January’s violence to a halt in street checks” which “mislead the public.”
Maybe they did not look at the numbers.
It’s not McCormack who should be asked to explain, but those who created the major public policy shift.
Since there has been an increase in shootings involving death or injury of nearly 94% in the first month of 2016 compared to January 2015, the people who should be asked about the spike are the likes of Tory, Blair or Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi.
They were lobbied into making changes by activists with allegations about racial profiling.
Instead, there has been a bashing of McCormack who — while at the weekend Chinatown shooting scene where gunfire left two dead and three wounded — simply expressed worry about what is clearly a deadly, bloody and growing problem.
“I didn’t think there was anything reckless about telling the public what the numbers are showing,” he said Wednesday.
The numbers show a huge spike in gun play and a more appropriate response should have been, “Let’s sit down and look at this.”
For those who say there is no proof of a correlation between the enormous increase and the lack of street checks, it should be noted they have failed to explain what else could be the cause.
To just dismiss McCormack as an uninformed politically-motivated troublemaker doesn’t wash when shooting has skyrocketed since Blair made his announcement — not to mention a crazy start to 2016.
The other problem for the equally-as-political players on the side of anti-carding is that McCormack can point out what the statistics are showing and also highlight what the officers he represents across the city are telling him.
“They are telling me it has gone crazy out there since the end of carding,” said McCormack. “The officers who do surveillance are saying those carrying guns are saying to each other that they don’t have as much to worry about because police are not able to easily engage them.”
In 2015, Toronto Police made approximately 27,000 arrests compared to 35,000 in 2014 — another number that needs explanation.
But 10 funerals and almost 40 shooting incidents in the first 35 days of 2016 is a crisis.
“The key is there are more guns, not just out there but being carried on-person,” said McCormack. “The gang guys are saying they can walk freely now without being questioned so they feel more comfortable carrying their gun rather than having it hidden somewhere.”
And when they are carrying them, there is more opportunity to use them.
“When one guy is carrying one, the other guy feels he has to carry his, too,” said McCormack.
If they do collide, the guns come out. They have come out a lot in the last 400 days.
Why? The people who banned street checks are the ones who should be asked.