Toronto police step up patrols against gangs

Regent Park and Alexandra Park, two Toronto neighbourhoods that have been linked with gang activity, can expect to see stepped up police patrols over the next few months.

Police chief concerned about rise in number of intimidation shootings

Two Toronto neighbourhoods that have been linked with gang activity can expect to see stepped-up police patrols over the next few months.

Toronto police say they will boost the number of officers in Regent Park and Alexandra Park.

It's being called Project Post and will focus on the downtown neighbourhoods, which residents say are involved in an ongoing street gang battle.

Police have said the man accused in the Eaton Centre shooting spree, as well the two men who died as a result, were believed to belong to the Sic Thugz gang operating out of Regent Park.

Chief Bill Blair said Friday that police are committed to policing all neighbourhoods where there is gang activity.

"We have a responsibility to all the decent people that live there," he said. "They have a right to live in peace and not feel threatened or victimized."

Blair said that, despite what happened at the Eaton Centre, Toronto police have seen a steady decline in major crime since 2006. 

There's been a 33-per-cent decline in gun calls since that year, he said.

This year, 13 murders have been committed with guns, the same number that had been killed at this time last year. However, the number of injured is up.

Blair also said he's concerned about the number of shootings this year in Toronto where there is no victim. He said shootings where bullets are fired into a building or a car have almost doubled. 

"Those are clearly intended to intimidate," he said. "But every one of those discharges is potentially dangerous. People live in those neighbourhoods, and if a gun is fired there anywhere it's going to create an unsafe situation, even a gun fired recklessly into the air."