June 8, 2016 4:46 pm

Too soon to tell if this year will repeat 2005 ‘Summer of the Gun’: expert

Police investigate a shooting in north Toronto on May 27, 2016.

Global News

Dubbed “The Summer of the Gun,” 2005 marked one of the city’s deadliest seasons in history.

From June to September, there were 25 gun-related homicides, which made up just under half of all the shooting-deaths in 2005.

Eleven years later and Toronto is experiencing another spike in gun-related deaths. Since January there have been 21 fatal shootings.

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But Jooyoung Lee, assistant professor at University of Toronto says the statistics are not always a good indication of what’s to come.

“Year to date statistics are difficult to interpret because we know that in some years – for whatever reason – crime rates spike up during the first half of the year,” Lee said.

Lee says the spike in shooting-homicides could be related to localized conflicts between gangs.

“We know that in cities there are years where violent crime rates escalate because there feuds between different gangs.”

READ MORE: Toronto mayor calls for wide-ranging action against gun violence after shootings

Police Chief Mark Saunders says Toronto is not heading in the direction of deadly 2005 summer.

“I think we have one of the best police services in North America and I think we have good citizens,” Saunders said.

“There’s a small percentage of people who are committing these crimes.”

Lee says it’s still too early to tell if 2016 will be a repeat of 2005.

“People are very on edge because the numbers suggest the rate is climbing,” Lee said.

“The shootings are happening in ‘safe neighbourhoods’ or they are happening in the middle of the day time, so the nature of the shootings and the victims are causing alarm.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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