Toronto Police has been mapping out a proactive approach of law enforcement when it comes to reducing gang violence, Deputy Chief James Ramer told delegates at the opening of the first-ever Toronto Frontline Gang Prevention symposium on March 20.
“The results of our efforts can be measured by the thousands upon thousands of arrests, leading to the seizure of countless illegal firearms,” he said. “Immeasurable lives have been saved by this achievement.”
Despite the success, Ramer said the Service cannot be complacent or reactive.
“We must stay ahead of the increasingly sophisticated criminals who plague our many communities,” he said.
In December 2016, the Service implemented the Gang Exit program.
“The expectation of this program was that of reducing gang membership, thus reducing violent gang-related crimes in the city,” said Ramer. “The creation of this ambitious strategy was completely aligned with the modernization of the Toronto Police Service, complementing all points on The Way Forward report that served as a guide to modernizing how we keep our communities and city safe in a smart but very innovative way.”
Embracing partnerships to create safe communities, focusing on the complex needs of a large city and being where the public needs the Service the most are essential components of the new modernization process.
“It took a good year to create the Gang Prevention Task Force, which was influenced by these modernization goals,” said Ramer. “However, during the process, the focus on providing existing gang members, or those at risk of joining a gang, with viable exit strategies was never neglected.”
Nearly 400 delegates attended the conference at the Woodbine Centre.
“It’s great to have support,” said S/Sgt. Donovan Locke, who helped to organize the event with Detective Constable Ron Chhinzer and Detective Jason Kondo. “And that is not only coming from our internal and external members, but also the community.”