Toronto Police has launched a two-week gun amnesty aimed at getting unwanted weapons off the streets.
Beginning today, until November 16, people can surrender weapons without being interrogated by police. Law enforcement will only intervene if a firearm is linked to a criminal activity.
“One less gun in the city is an opportunity for keeping the city much safer,” Chief Mark Saunders said, announcing the amnesty at the launch of Ontario Crime Prevention Week at the Toronto Central YMCA on November 2. “I am not interested in the number of firearms that we seize. One gun is a success because it can cause catastrophic damage to our community if it is put in the wrong hands.”
Those wishing to surrender unwanted firearms are asked to contact police at (416) 808-2222, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day until November 16.
Members of the public are reminded that they should not bring unwanted firearms to police stations or headquarters.
“We will make arrangements for an officer to come and collect those weapons,” said Saunders.
There are nearly 300 gun-related incidents in the city annually.
“We know what gun violence has done to our city and we need to do everything we can to reduce gun violence in the city,” Saunders added.
Crime Prevention Week runs from November 1-7.
This year’s theme is, “Crime Prevention and Community Policing is what we do.”
Saunders urged community members to use Crime Prevention Week as a platform to engage with the Service’s crime prevention specialists and ask questions.
“What can I do to make my home safe?,” is a question the Chief suggested. “What can I do to make my business safer? How can I make sure my son or daughter is using the internet properly? These are all important functions that we have to incorporate if we are going to keep our city one of the best and safest to live in.
“This week provides us with that opportunity to have that dialogue when it comes to crime prevention. If we can reduce crime from a preventative perspective, then there are fewer calls for service and, when there are fewer calls for service, it gives our officers across the province an opportunity to be more proactive on the roads. If they are more proactive on the roads, that helps keep the cities even safer than they are today.”
Niagara Regional Police Service Chief Jeff McGuire said some of the crimes that provincial police services will be focusing on during Crime Prevention Week are property, tax and online fraud.
“With people relying so much on personal communications devices and more and more everyday things such as communicating at work, school, with families and friends, banking accounts and paying your bills and shopping, it’s incredibly important for law enforcement personnel to constantly provide good information so people could make wise choices when it comes to their online activities,” said McGuire, president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
“As I reflect on crime prevention in Ontario, I realize that our world today is very different from when I started policing. Our society has changed and mostly for the better… Community mobilization, community policing and partnerships with our communities are how we police today.”
Councillor Chin Lee, vice-chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, said crime prevention is fundamental to building safer communities.
“But it can’t be left to the police alone,” he added. “Communities and neighbourhoods also have a valuable role in this endeavour. They are and must be the vital partner in our efforts to build safer and healthier communities. We have seen that together, through our joint and sustained efforts, we can develop action-based strategies and meaningful initiatives… Together, we can create safer and stronger communities throughout Ontario.”