Shocking numbers released by Toronto police show 2016 is off to a violent start.
The number of shootings in January has doubled what they were at the same time last year, and are nearly three times higher than in the first month of 2013.
So far 2016 has had 32 shootings, which have resulted in four deaths and 18 people injured. This number brings shootings involving death or injuries up 69 per cent from this time last year.
The number of homicides has also tripled this month from the same time last year, from two in 2015 to six in 2016. However, the two homicides in 2015 were the result of fatal stabbings, of which this year we have had none.
University of Toronto sociologist Jooyoung Lee said that while the numbers shouldn’t be ignored, Toronto is still a model city.
“If you look at the homicide rate and the violent crime rates in a city of this size, they’re significantly lower than in many other cities,” he explained.
Lee said he couldn’t hypothesize why the numbers are so high this January but said factors such as the number of guns on the streets or increased gang violence could play a part.
But this increase may not necessarily mean the streets are becoming more dangerous.
“Crime rates ebb and flow from year to year and we see this happening in virtually all cities in North America,” he explained. “If we look at the year to year stats at the end of the year, we see that murder rates and assault rates are pretty consistent over the last four or five years,”
In January 2015, Toronto had 16 shootings, none of which were fatal. By the end of the year 26 people had been killed in 255 shootings – a three year high for the city.