Toronto Police have confirmed that 51 homicides have happened within the city since the beginning of the year, more than double the amount at this time in 2017. Just this weekend five people were killed, four of which with guns, prompting both Police Chief Mark Saunders and Mayor John Tory to express major concerns over the spike in crime.
"The incidents of gun violence we have seen in our city in the past few days are shocking and can in no way be accepted or brushed aside," the mayor said in a statement. "As mayor, I am troubled by every act of violence in our city regardless of where it happens."
Ten people were killed in April when a Alek Minassian drove a rental van through crowds of people on Yonge Street,
In April, ten people were killed when a van drove through crowds of pedestrians on Yonge Street and is facing ten counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Then on June 18 a man was pushed by a stranger into the path of an oncoming subway train at Bloor-Yonge Station.
Serial killer Bruce McArthur, Toronto-based serial killer, has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder after police found six sets of human remains at properties he landscaped.
Homicides in Toronto from January-July
It's been a rough year for Toronto in terms of homicides and many people in the city are becoming worried about what it means for their city. In response to this crisis, Doug Ford has promised to restart TAVIS, a controversial program that was disbanded by the Toronto Police in 2017 over concerns of carding.
Saunders has said that the shooting statistics are in line with the figures posted in 2016 and hopes to reassure residents that Toronto is still one of the safest cities in North America, while still calling for harsher criminal sentences for gang members.
The Toronto Police's public data dashboard shows 51 homicides in 2018 as of July 1, the last time it was updated. Taking this into account and estimating the population of the city at 2.809 million, this make's Toronto's crime rate 1.8 per 100,000 people. New York City, by comparison, has a population of 8.62 million and has had 130 homicides, putting its crime rate at 1.51 per 100,000.
However, there's several reasons to not be alarmed by this surprising finding. Even though NYC's crime rate is lower, it has a higher population and the city is of a larger physical size, which means the crime is more dispersed throughout. Typically when it comes to gun violence, there are periods of higher and lower amounts of shootings, explained the police chief in an interview.