August 7, 2018 5:30 am
Updated: August 7, 2018 5:08 pm

Is the city more violent than it was five years ago? Majority of Torontonians think so: poll

ABOVE: New polling done by Ipsos shows Torontonians feel the city is more violent than it was five years ago.


This year, there has been an unprecedented amount of violence in Toronto with the deadly van attack and most recently, the Danforth shooting that left two people dead and 13 others injured, and new polling done by Ipsos shows Torontonians feel the city is more violent than it was five years ago.

Eighty-eight per cent of respondents said they agree that the city is becoming more violent compared with 2013, while just 12 per cent of people said they disagreed.

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“We really wanted to gauge the temperature of the city of Toronto. How are people feeling after a particularly intense period in which there’s been a number of things happening in the city, culminating with what happened on the Danforth,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.

“When you ask them —  ‘Is the city a safe place? — they say yes. But when you ask them about something like gun violence — Is it bad? Is it getting worse? — their perception is that it is getting worse.”

READ MORE: By the numbers — how Toronto gun violence in 2018 compares with past years

There have been 59 homicides so far in 2018. Thirty have been a result of shootings, and in 2013, the city saw a total of 57 homicides over the 12-month period.

The polling also shows Torontonians have been concerned about increasing violence in the past.

In 2005, 80 homicides happened in Toronto, with 52 as a result of gun violence. Ipsos conducted a similar survey that year and 87 per cent of respondents agreed the city had become more violent than five years prior.

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto man’s brush with death inspired him to dedicate his life to stopping gun violence

“I think what you’re seeing is a fairly consistent level of concern over a long period of time,” Bricker said.

“So we go through these phases of gun crime, back and forth. And when we asked about those the last time, that was around the time Jane Creba got shot [in 2005]. … But it’s been a consistent and ongoing problem in the city of Toronto, which nobody seems to have been able to make much progress on, regardless of who the mayor is, regardless of who the prime minister is, and regardless of who the premier is.”

Jooyoung Lee, associate professor of sociology with the University of Toronto, said there has been an increase in shootings over the past several years.

“If you look at the Toronto police data, you’ll notice that in 2016 and 2017 there was a pretty significant increase in the total number of shootings in the city and in 2018 we’re on pace to surpass those years,” Lee said.

READ MORE: Montreal and Toronto homicide rates compared

“So there’s definitely a jump in the overall number of shootings in the past few years.”

That increase can often lead to a heightened fear among members of the public, he added.

“People tend to have very strong emotional, visceral reactions to extreme violence and crimes that they don’t see quite a bit,” he said.

“Year to year, in any given city, you’ll see huge fluctuations in the amount of crime. And there’s a danger and a short-sightedness in taking one year as a sample and assuming that that’s somehow going to represent how the city is going to be from here on out. There’s a number of different things that can cause a spike or a drop. So it’s very hard to take a lot from just one year and generalize the rest of the years.”


These are some of the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted between July 2530, 2018, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a random sample of 800 Toronto residents aged 18+ were interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within ±4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Toronto residents over the age of 18 been surveyed. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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