Guns and gangs: How each party plans to crack down on crime


TORONTO – As Election Day nears, CTV News Toronto is taking a deeper look into the issues that matter most to local voters, breaking down the party promises as they apply to Battleground: GTA.

The Issue

In the neighbourhood that saw seven separate shootings in a two-week span this past summer, some residents are still reeling from the violence.

“I’m scared that so many things are happening,” Lawrence Heights resident Rosa Garcia tells CTV News Toronto on her apartment building doorstep.

She’s lived in the area for less than a year with her two kids, and says she doesn’t leave her home unless absolutely necessary.

“I don’t do anything,” she remarks.

Security camera footage of two suspects opening fire at multiple people in a nearby parkette in broad daylight was played across television screens in recent weeks, and although many local residents worry it could happen again, there are no easy answers to curbing the gang activity.

“Definitely no more cuts to social programs,” housing worker Euridice Baumgarten says on the sidewalk.

“Just get the guns off the street,” resident Sam Charezenko sighs.

The Background

The sudden spike in summer gunplay was not limited to Lawrence Heights, as numerous neighbourhoods bore witness to seemingly-escalating gang activity around the GTA.

In Toronto alone, police have tracked more than 370 shootings this year; 212 people have been injured or killed by bullets thus far. With two-and-a-half months left in the year, the stats are pushing new highs, but the Toronto Police Service says this is one record no one wants to break.

The federal leaders know community safety is top of mind for the neighbourhoods scarred by shootings, and are pitching strengthened gun controls, tougher sentences, and programming for youth who could otherwise be tempted into life in a gang.

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The Conservative Promise

Leader Andrew Scheer would put an end to automatic bail for gang members and revoke parole for released gang members who associate with their former gangs.