A mass shooting on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue following weeks of high-profile gun incidents has prompted many to ask the question: is the city seeing a spike in gun violence?
Using Toronto Police Service (TPS) data, Global News crunched the numbers.
So far, more people have been killed by guns this year in Toronto than at the same point in 2017. Data released by the TPS shows 23 more shootings occurred this year, affecting nine more victims than over the same period in 2017. However, a larger percentage of shooting victims ended up dying this year than in years previous.
Note, the TPS victim counts include both fatalities and shooting-related injuries.
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Toronto has now recorded 30 gun-related homicides to date. Here’s how that compares with the total number of gun-related fatalities in past years:
- In 2017 there was a total of 39 gun crime-related deaths;
- In 2016 there was a total of 41 gun crime-related deaths;
- In 2015 there was a total of 26 gun crime-related deaths;
- In 2014 there was a total of 27 gun crime-related deaths.
The average death toll through the years of 2014 – 2017 is 33 gun-related deaths. Toronto’s death toll for 2018 is close to that average — with more than five months to go left in the year.
While it might seems Toronto’s gun crime is skyrocketing, a Ryerson University criminology professor says it’s too soon to tell if we’re seeing a trend or a one-off.
“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 police data was last updated on July 23, following the Greektown mass shooting that left a ten-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman dead and 13 injured. The shooter also died after exchanging gunfire with police.
According to the police data, 228 shootings have occurred in Toronto in 2018, resulting in 308 victims.
Here’s how that compares with the total number of gun crime incidents in past years:
- In 2017 there was a total of 395 shootings;
- In 2016 there was a total of 407 shootings;
- In 2015 there was a total of 288 shootings;
- In 2014 there was a total of 177 shootings.
Even with the high-profile Danforth shooting, gun crime incidents were relatively low through the first three weeks of July, with 22 incidents and 39 victims on record. That’s well below the high point in May of this year, when 56 shootings resulted in 63 victims.
July 2017 was the second-worst month for shootings in Toronto last year, with 44 incidents and 69 victims.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has renewed calls for tougher firearm restrictions in the wake of the Danforth shooting.
“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?” Tory said on Monday.
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