Canadian cities are among the safest urban areas in the world. American crime statistics dwarf those of Canada. Accessible public services and benefits, strict gun laws, and other progressive social policies definitely contribute to Canadian safety.
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That's why sudden spikes in crime are especially worrisome. This summer, an unusual increase in shootings in Toronto has officials particularly perplexed.
According to public statistics on the website of the Toronto police, the city has experienced far more shootings this year than by July of the past five years. 13% more shootings have taken place in 2018 than by mid-July 2017.
Most concerning, however, are stastics that show there have been over 50% more fatal shootings in 2018 than by mid-2017.
Canadians are rarely exposed to such violence. The news has officials scrambling to devise ways to curb the troubling trend.
Today, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced plans to add hundreds of police officers to night shift schedules. The coming influx of night officers is part of a larger multi-million dollar plan to address gun violence.
There's no telling whether increased police presence will discourage shootings or antagonize culprits. When neighbourhoods feel under seige by police, residents tend to react poorly.
By the end of the summer, Toronto officials will have a better understanding of the best tactics to address the sudden onslaught of deadly shootings. Hopefully, the alarming trend will reverse.