There have been 12 shootings in the cities so far this year, WRPS chief says
'I don’t believe anyone has the answer of why people are turning to violent crime using firearms,' Larkin says
There have been 12 shootings this year in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, the Waterloo Regional Police Service says.
The shootings have been distributed across the three urban areas, and charges have been laid in about 70 per cent of cases, police Chief Bryan Larkin says.
Larkin said he couldn't say how many shootings happened in the same time frame last year, but that overall, "we are seeing an increase" in gun violence.
"We should be concerned, not just as a community, but as a province and as a nation," Larkin told reporters at the police services board meeting.
Just last week, a 21-year-old woman was sent to hospital with injuries after an early morning shooting on Paulander Drive and Victoria Street.
The week before, another shooting on Fairway Road S. and Wilson Avenue sent three people to hospital — one in critical condition.
In 2018, WRPS said they responded to 31 "firearm incidents" total.
Larkin said the recent uptick in shooting crimes is a "complex issue" and that he doesn't know what's behind it.
"I don't believe anyone has the answer of why people are turning to violent crime using firearms, but that's the reality when we look at the challenges we're facing," Larkin said.
Behind the scenes, he said police are working with neighbourhoods affected by shootings to both advance their investigations and restore a sense of calm.
"This is a long-term approach," he said.
"We want to reassure the community that our investigative team, our intelligence team and our frontline patrol are working very hard to ensure calm, but also looking at what is driving the violence."