Last year saw a 41% increase in violent crimes involving guns in Toronto.
If January and February are any indication 2017’s shooting rate is keeping a close pace to 2016’s.
In the first week of February alone, in the span of 24 hours within a six kilometre radius, there were three shootings.Two involved teenaged boys who were injured in separate shootings and another resulted in a homicide.
Mohamed El Hatimy, 32, became the eighth homicide of the year. Hatimy’s was the sixth gun related death this year.
2016 was arguably the most gun ridden year for the Greater Toronto Area since 2005,”the year of the gun.”
2005 was the year that Jane Creba was infamously shot on Boxing Day; a year with 359 shootings and 52 shooting related deaths reported by the Toronto Police Service.
In 2016 there were 407 shootings and 40 shooting deaths. There were fewer fatalities than 2005, but still a staggering amount of shootings.
2017 is on track to become another big year for gun violence.Though the incidences of gun violence had decreased 20% by the end of January compared to 2016, that 20% decrease still puts up fairly large numbers.
There have been 35 shootings in Toronto, and 6 shooting deaths.
The Oakville Sun reached out to the Toronto Police Service for comment, but unfortunately were not able to receive a response at the time of publishing.
Dangerous Neighbourhoods? Should Toronto be Scared of Jane-Finch?
Three of the six deaths reported so far this year were in and around the Entertainment District. One was in East Toronto closed to Danforth and Pape. The other two were in North West Toronto, near and around the Jane and Finch neighbourhood.
Jane and Finch has had a reputation for being a violent neighbourhood. That’s why Paul Nguyen started Jane-Finch.com. Which helped to bring awareness to other aspects of the community beyond crime statistics.
In response to these shootings Nguyen, who is currently in Rotterdam at a conference, has been keeping up to date on the news coming out of his neighbourhood.
Nguyen says that when he first heard of the cluster of shootings earlier this week his first thought was that they were related.
“Typically they come in bunches because its retaliations. That was just my first hunch.”
The police have yet to comment on whether or not the recent spat of shootings are gang related or retaliatory in nature.
The Jane-Finch community centre issued a statement on their website in response to the shootings. The statement was titled “Toronto’s Black Creek is Vibrant Not Violent.”
In the statement the Centre’s Executive Director Michelle Dagnino is quoted as saying; “Recent events weigh heavily on the minds of all of us here at the Jane/Finch Centre but we want to remind everyone that gun violence does not and should not define communities such as ours.”
Outside of Jane-Finch
Another cluster of shootings has occurred in the area of Adelaide and Parliament, just east of the main downtown core. Two gun homicides have occurred in this area. One on January 30th near the George Brown – St. James Campus and another at Adelaide and Sherbourne. Another shooting, which only resulted in injury not death, had occurred just two weeks early,January 13th. In that incident a 16-year old boy was shot in the neck at Moss Park.
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