Weekend rash of violence 'a blip,' Toronto police chief says

The spate of violent crime across the city this weekend is "a blip" with no bearing on Toronto's overall safety and policing record, according to police Chief Mark Saunders.

Shootings are up, but the city is still safe Chief Mark Saunders tells reporters

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders speaks to reporters at the annual turkey giveaway at Honest Ed's on Sunday. (CBC)

The spate of violent crime across the city this weekend is "a blip" with no bearing on Toronto's overall safety and policing record, according to police Chief Mark Saunders. 

"It's a blip. We have these blips, we have these weekends," Saunders told reporters on Sunday, referring to the past 48 hours which have seen twodouble shootings, a fatal drive-by shooting, a police-involved shooting and about half a dozenstabbings

"This is not the opportunity to say this is the way Toronto is every weekend, but we did have a very busy weekend."

Several hours after the chief spoke, two men were transported to hospital from the Martin Grove Road and Finch Avenue area suffering from gunshot wounds. The call came in shortly after 11 p.m., with both victims transported to a trauma centre.

Saunders said the perpetrators behind such crimes represent less than one per cent of the city's population. 

Community help

"But still, that less than one per cent can really affect the ... perception of community safety," he said, speaking to reporters at the annual Honest Ed's turkey giveaway

"When people are afraid to walk in public spaces, that's when we have our concerns, so we have to make sure as law enforcement we do what we can to help keep the city safe."

Saunders conceded that shootings are up in Toronto, but said the rate at which police solve crimes is "significantly higher" than those of comparable cities. 

He credits those numbers to what he described as the positive relationship between police and the city's communities. 

"The community trusts us by large," he said, which leads to witnesses coming forward. 

But more can be done, the chief said, by working more closely with communities. 

"We need to fix it from the grassroots," he said. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.