Will more police on the streets be enough to curb wave of gun crime in Toronto?
Police must work on how they relate to communities, advocate says
Fighting Toronto's gun crime problem with $3 million in extra policing is "a suppression tactic," according to a Canadian author who's written about firearms culture.
"What they're trying to do is to go after the people who have known gang affiliations and say: 'Hey, we're watching you,'" said A.J Somerset, author of Arms: The Culture and Credo of the Gun.
The police want to "put a lot of resources on those people, to increase their risk [of arrest]," he told The Current's guest host Ioanna Roumeliotis.
"After eight weeks. the summer will be over. These sorts of public shootings and public gun-carrying and so on is largely a warm weather phenomenon," Somerset said.
As well as the extra policing, $12 million will be invested in community programs, in what Somerset called a good way to address the problem in the long term.
It's about how, not how many
Jamil Jivani, a lawyer and author, agreed that in some cases more law enforcement is "an important piece of the puzzle," but the nature of how that policing operates is crucial, and minority communities need to be reassured that only criminal elements will be targeted.
If all the interactions involve delivering bad news or enforcing punitive measures, he added, that leads to anxiety and negative relationships.
"There has not been a really strong effort to communicate ... that this policing is going to be different," he said.
"That when you see more cops come into your neighborhood, they are really going to be able to target the criminal elements, and that innocent people — innocent young men — aren't going to suffer over-policing by consequence."
Listen to the full discussion near the top of this web page.
This segment was produced by The Current's Jessica Linzey and Danielle Carr.