Anti-gang project produced 250 arrests, more than 500 charges in six weeks

Mark Saunders 4

Toronto police say they made close to 250 arrests in the first six weeks of a project aimed at curbing gang activity, including 12 people who were re-arrested while on bail for firearms offences.

Police Chief Mark Saunders gave an update today on Project Community Space, which launched in August after the force received funding from all three levels of government.

He says the program has been ``extremely effective'' in increasing community safety, gathering intelligence and making arrests.

Saunders says officers laid 525 charges as part of the project so far, with firearms-related offences accounting for 35 per cent of the charges, failure to comply with bail conditions making up 17 per cent and violent offences such as assault and sexual assault representing 11 per cent.

He says officers conducted close to 900 compliance checks for those on bail, adding that people reoffending while on release is a ``big concern.''

The program -- which will use $1.5 million each from the federal, provincial and municipal governments -- is set to run for 11 weeks in total.