Toronto is enduring its worst year for murder in recent memory.
Including the two people killed in a mass shooting incident on Danforth Ave., in the city’s east end, 58 people have been killed in the city so far this year. While ten of those people died in the Yonge St. van attack in April, it’s still far higher than the usual total. Between 2011 and 2017, an average of 28 people had been murdered by mid-late July each year.
The city’s 30 gun homicides to date, with July not yet over, are nearing the city’s average total for a whole year, which is 34.
A look at a map of Toronto’s 2018 gun homicides shows two distinct clusters:
- In the city’s northwest, three men were shot in a small area near Jane St. south of Steeles Ave. W. Two died on consecutive days in July.
- Six people have been murdered with guns in the old city’s central area south of College St. since late May.
Click on a point to see details about the address; click on a name to see details about a person.
The sharp rise in gun homicides, with two major examples of mass violence so far this year, have led to calls for government action. Here is city councillor Norm Kelly:
But a Ryerson University criminology professor says there are few easy solutions, and that this year may be a one-off for gun violence.
“We would have to go back several years, probably over 15 or 20 years, to see whether there have been spikes, whether there have been dips, and what we can conclude about gun violence this year,” Tammy Landau told Global News reporter Mike Drolet Monday.
“I’m not really convinced yet that this year is showing a pattern that we can expect going forward.”
The city’s murders are hard to generalize about, and it’s hard to see how any one solution could have averted any of them, she says.
“From the public’s perspective, it really does feel like a crisis in safety and security, but because the incidents are so different I really don’t think that there could be one response that would have gotten rid of any of them.
“They’ve been saying ‘we’ve been trying to get the guns off the streets’ for as long as I can remember. If they had a solution, they would have implemented it by now. The fact that we’re facing some serious incidents of gun violence shouldn’t make them move forward with solutions that they don’t have yet.”