A program aimed at curbing gun violence in Toronto has been extended amid a string of shootings in the city.
On Thursday, the day Project Community Space was slated to end, police announced that the “intelligence-led operational plan to address the increased gun violence associated with street gang activity in Toronto” will continue to operate “until further notice.”
“We are experiencing the highest number of shootings recorded to date in Toronto – a total of 237 this year – where someone has been injured or killed. We will keep the extended resources in place at this time,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said in a news release.
The news comes hours after a shooting left a man with serious injuries on Thursday morning and less than a day after five teens were shot in what police described as a “targeted shooting”. Both incidents took place in the city’s west-end, about two kilometres from one another.
Project Community Space is extended until further notice to focus resources on gun & gang violence in Toronto. @TorontoPolice has made hundreds of arrests and laid 908 charges in 11 weeks of the Project. Firearm-related offences were 26% of charges laid. https://t.co/zeMxXtcG34 pic.twitter.com/XyAQ2BjLyU— Mark Saunders (@marksaunderstps) October 31, 2019
“During the 11 weeks of the project, Toronto police officers have made 391 arrests and laid 908 charges with firearm-related offences accounting for 26 per cent of charges laid,” Saunders said.
“Eleven per cent of the charges were for violent offences including assault, robbery and sexual offences, and nine per cent of arrests were for outstanding warrants.”
The program includes monitoring bail compliances, enhancing engagement with communities and increasing police presence in areas “frequently associated with street gangs and gun violence”.
Project Community Space was first announced on Aug. 14 and included $4.5 million in funding from all three levels of government.
The extension will continue to draw on these original funds, according to the news release.