Members of federal, provincial and municipal government came together on Sunday to answer questions from Toronto residents as part of the Community Safety Summit.
The event was organized by MP Carolyn Bennett, and as part of the discussion, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair, MPP for Toronto-St.Paul’s Jill Andrew and Cllr. Josh Matlow were invited to attend.
Residents were invited to voice concerns around community safety in the city.
“It’s about how we keep our neighborhoods safe and how we build the security that people want to be able to walk down the streets and not have to worry,” Bennett said.
Blair said areas across Canada have been seeing an increase in violence.
“It’s not just in Toronto, but we are seeing a rise violence generally and gun violence in particular,” he said.
“I think Toronto remains one of the safest largest urban centres in North America and one of the safest in the world, but that doesn’t mean we become complacent. So when we see this violence take place, it demands action.”
The summit comes a few days after Toronto reached a record number of homicides and several people who attended the talks voiced concerns about the growing violence.
“My personal neighborhood has seen a lot of increased violence in terms of car thefts and car break ins,” said Lori Litman.
“We had an increase in gun violence. People are scared and don’t know what to do.”
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MPP Jill Andrew also took part in the panel discussion, adding more needs to be done to get to the root causes of violence in the city.
“We need to talk about the root causes of violence. We need to talk about the social determinants of health and we need to talk about the fact that we need more affordable housing,” she said.
The Summit ran from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto and Litman said she would like to see commitments made by all three levels of government to help make the city safer.
“I want to work towards preventing it,” she said.