Calgary police report shows 2020 spike in gun violence

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WATCH: The Calgary Police Service says the number of shootings in Calgary spiked in 2020. As Jenna Freeman reports, officers are also seeing more guns on the streets. – Jun 17, 2021

In its annual report to council, Calgary police said there were 112 shootings in Calgary in 2020.

The numbers represented a 40 per cent increase over the five-year average in the city.

Calgary police criminal operations and intelligence superintendent Cliff O’Brien said there appears to be more guns on city streets.

“Twenty-five years ago if we recovered a gun at a traffic stop, it was a big deal,” O’Brien said. “Now we’re recovering them certainly nightly, if not several times a night.”

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O’Brien said it is hard to pinpoint the reason shootings have increased, but said it could be cyclical.

“We’ll see that there will be organized crime groups perhaps that get into a gang warfare. We’ll arrest them, get them in jail; eventually, they get out and might be going back to the same activity they were involved in before.”

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Ward 5 councillor George Chahal said the issue is concerning but trying to curb the number of guns in Calgary is a complicated matter.

Chahal said there needs to be conversations with stakeholders and the community.

“We need to make sure that we tackle the real issues when it comes to guns,” he said. “Gun smuggling and how those guns are legally obtained and used in crimes and stolen and stored.”

O’Brien said this is not an issue that is isolated to Calgary — there has been a spike in violent crime across Canada.

Calgary police have targeted the top violent offenders and also implemented a gang strategy to try and curb the gun violence.

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