Toronto

Feds, province, city chip in on 3 plans to make Toronto safer

Toronto Mayor John Tory, along with federal and provincial cabinet ministers, revealed three new measures Thursday that he says will make Toronto a safer community.

All 3 levels of government chipping in on 3 programs

Toronto Mayor John Tory, flanked by federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale (R) and Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, lays out the details of three plans that he says will make Toronto neighbourhoods more secure. All three governments are bearing some of the costs. (Michael Smee/CBC News)

Toronto Mayor John Tory, along with federal and provincial cabinet ministers, revealed three new measures Thursday that he says will make Toronto a safer community.

The city and Toronto Community Housing will jointly run what the city is calling an "Intervention Fund" that will pay for crisis response teams to be helicoptered into neighbourhoods that have been hit with shootings, or other sudden, serious violence.

The program will provide counselling to people and will cost about $100,000, the mayor's office said..

"This fund will help heal communities," Tory told a news conference announcing the measures Thursday. "It will help people cope with what has happened close to their homes and to their workplaces."

Identifying trouble before it happens

The second measure is a provincial government initiative, known as the FOCUS program, which is being expanded, Tory said. Teams of health workers, youth workers and police meet weekly in troubled neighbourhoods to identify young people who are at risk of turning to crime.

The idea is to steer them toward more productive choices, Tory said, and in doing so, also give residents "the resources to reclaim their communities."

Queen's Park is providing the additional funding, which amounts to about $300,000. 

It's already in place in Rexdale and north Scarborough. It'll now be expanded into the Jane-Finch and Mount Dennis area, Tory said.

Alternative to "putting 12-year-olds behind bars" 

Also, all three levels of government have committed to broadening a program that provides alternatives to jail for young people aged 12 to 17 who are facing criminal charges — community service, for example. it's been a successful pilot project in 14 Division, the mayor said, and will now be expanded.

However, he said, the exact locations haven't yet been determined.

"Putting 12-year-olds behind bars can be replaced with a more productive way to make sure they've learned from what they've done," Tory said. "We have to offer them a chance to do better."

The total cost of the expansion is about $400,000, which will be split between all three levels of government.

The announcements came after an hour-long meeting at city hall that included the mayor, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, MP Marco Mendicino (Eglinton-Lawrence), Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services David Orazietti and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.