Chief Saunders' Midpoint Update on Project Community Space
525 Charges, 240 Arrests
Broadcast time: 10:30
Monday, September 30, 2019
Toronto Police Service Chief Mark Saunders provided an update today on the first six weeks of Project Community Space.
The mandate of the 11-week, intelligence-led operational plan is to increase the safety of those communities dealing with increased gun violence and street gang activity this past summer.
The program includes monitoring bail compliance, enhanced engagement with communities, and increasing police presence and visibility in areas frequently associated with street gangs and gun violence.
“The members of the Toronto Police Service, under the direction of the Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force, have been extremely effective in implementing this operational plan and increasing the safety of Toronto communities,” said Chief Saunders.
“Officers laid 525 charges in the first six weeks of the project with firearm-related offences accounting for 35% of the charges, and failure to comply or breach of conditions accounting for 17% of charges laid. Eleven percent of these charges were for violent offences including assault, robbery and sexual offences. A further 8% of arrests were for outstanding warrants,” he continued.
In the first six weeks of the Project, 12 individuals who were free on bail for firearm-related offences were re-arrested.
In addition to failure to comply, they faced a variety of new firearm and violence-related charges including possession of firearms which had serial numbers tampered with, possession of prohibited and restricted firearms, and assault with a weapon.
“At the midpoint of Project Community Space, there was a 30% decrease in shooting events compared to the six weeks prior to the start of the Project,” said Chief Saunders.
The results support the Project being intelligence-led in that officers are in key areas and able to get to scenes quickly. Time onsite processing complaints was 15% shorter, allowing officers to address the issue and move on to the next call.
“Being community-focused is a key element of the Service’s modernization, and this enhancement has allowed our officers to be where communities need us most,” he continued. “The increased visibility of officers, in their patrol cars and on foot in areas where street gangs are prevalent has been effective as a deterrent.”
Toronto Police officers led a bail enforcement surge and checked 876 individuals who are currently out on bail.
Communities have consistently informed our team members that they noticed an increased presence of officers in their neighbourhoods in the last six weeks and that they feel safer in their communities. Toronto Police also made 38 referrals of which 17 were to a gang exit program.
The Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force has hosted six of 31 planned gang prevention town halls, aimed at educating and supporting families who live in areas most affected by gang activity.
The Project received funding from all three levels of government. It is scheduled to end on October 31, 2019.
For more news, visit TPSnews.ca
Allison MacNeil Sparkes, Corporate Communications, for the Office of the Chief