Mayor John Tory says that he is looking at a ‘myriad’ of steps that the city could take to address the recent surge in gun violence, including the suspension of liquor licenses at problem establishments.
Tory made the comment during a one-on-one interview with CP24 on Thursday morning.
The interview came in the wake of Toronto police releasing new figures showing that the city has seen 21 shooting deaths this year, compared to nine by the same point last year and 11 by this point in both 2013 and 2014.
“I don’t think there is anyone who isn’t completely shocked (by the recent spike in violence),” Tory said. “Our job is to remain calm and to have a resolve to do whatever we can to root out these gangsters, to stop the flow of guns and to help the kids to make sure they take the right course in their life in some of the neighbourhoods where there is more challenges.”
The recent surge in crime has included several high-profile incidents that have brought gun violence to the forefront of the public discourse.
On May 15, pregnant mother Candice Rochelle Bobb was fatally shot as she sat in a car with friends in Jamestown. Her baby, delivered via emergency C-section, died in hospital three weeks later.
Then last week, a 10-year-old boy was injured as a hail of gunfire entered the bedroom of a home in the Jones and Danforth avenues area as he slept.
A brazen daylight shooting in the city’s Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood on Tuesday also left a 34-year-old man dead.
“There is a myriad of things we can do,” Tory said. “I have talked about trying to stem the flow of illegal guns into Toronto, we have talked about a gun amnesty and there is a suggestion that we take liquor licenses away from places that sort of harbor people known to use guns, which hopefully you can do fairly quickly. It is all hands on deck here.”
Though Tory said that efforts are underway to shift additional officers in neighbourhoods where violent crime has surged, he said it is not realistic to think that the city could put more officers on the streets.
“In the end we have the police resources we have and it is a matter of deploying them better,” he said.