SPVM reports gun-related violence down in 2023

Click to play video: 'Armed violence down, arrests up says Montreal police chief Fady Dagher, one year into new job'
Armed violence down, arrests up says Montreal police chief Fady Dagher, one year into new job
WATCH: Gun-related violence in Montreal was down last year while arrests and seizures of firearms increased. That's the key take away from the SPVM's annual report, one year after a new police chief stepped in. Hundreds of new police officers were also added to the force all in an effort make the city safer. Global's Tim Sargeant reports. – Feb 13, 2024

The Montreal police force, the SPVM, is reporting that crimes relating to firearm violence dropped by 26 per cent in 2023.

Arrests increased to 351 from 344 in 2022 and the number of firearms seized was 774 last year, also up from 721 in 2022.

The top brass at the police department say many of the firearms seized came in from the U.S., while others were guns that were modified or made with 3D printers.

“We think that our cops, to be honest, we’re working like crazy. Honestly, they were working and working,” SPVM Chief Fady Dagher said at a press conference.

The department also hired 362 new officers, which led to a net increase of 91 in the police force after others left due to retirement or attrition. The net gain was the highest in five years and the SPVM is looking to hire another 400 this year.

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“It’s been a real honour to receive all those police officers working now in our SPVM,” Dagher said.

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Dagher says the improved work on cracking down on violent crime isn’t just due to interventions by police officers but also the close work officers did with community groups and visible minorities.

The police chief says working closely with schools and steering teenagers away from crime is also paying off.

“We do have much more younger and younger people avoiding the crime scene, avoiding the crime action,” he said.

Observers say they’re happy to see arms-related crime is dropping but they say the police department still faces challenges.

“The need for greater diversity among new recruits, particularly among racialized groups, some Indigenous groups, so we still have to tackle the issue of profiling and other kind of police bias in their interventions,” Fo Niemi, the president of CRARR, said.

Others say the police department needs to be discreet when working with community organizations.

“What we’ve always seen is the shrinking of any space where communities or schools can function without a police presence,” Ted Rutland, Concordia University professor, told Global News.

The police department plans to continue its strategy of trying to win the confidence of the public while cracking down hard on criminals.

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