Toronto Mayor John Tory says he has written a letter to the Ontario and federal governments over concerns of an alarming increase in “brazen” carjackings across the city.
“I’m extremely troubled by the increase in carjackings we are seeing in the city,” Tory wrote in a tweet Friday morning. “I know Toronto Police are also concerned by this brazen, criminal activity and are working to do everything they can to arrest those responsible.”
In Tory’s letter, he said Toronto Police have reported a 55 per cent increase in carjackings compared to 2021 “representing the largest increase of all major crimes that they track.”
He said there have been more carjackings so far this year at 93 compared to this time last year at only 21. He also noted this will likely surpass the total for 2021 at 103 carjackings with at least seven months left of 2022.
The letter comes as there has been a noticeable increase in vehicle thefts at gunpoint. One of the latest carjackings involved Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner in Etobicoke on Monday evening.
A 61-year-old man told Global News he was coming home from Costco in Scarborough on Wednesday evening when he pulled into his driveway and was carjacked.
As the man took groceries out of his 2019 Toyota Rav 4, he was approached by a man with a gun who told him to leave his keys and other belongings inside the car and demanded he hand over his wallet.
“I left everything in there and just walked away from the car,” the victim said. The man said it was “frightening” and he is “traumatized.” He said he had never been the victim of a crime before.
Toronto police had reported three armed carjackings on Wednesday alone. The force said it believes they are connected.
The mayor has expressed to both levels of government that “this situation and the trend cannot continue and I am writing to ask for your help.”
He is asking for more resources specifically targeted toward auto thefts and creating a “provincial/municipal auto theft task force.”
The letter was written to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Minister of Transport and Ontario’s Solicitor General and Minister of Finance.
An increase in brazen carjackings has been reported across Toronto, York Region, Peel Region and the Hamilton area.
— With files from Ryan Rocca & Catherine McDonald