While the city remains shocked, following the death of a pregnant mother on May 15, Chief Mark Saunders has promised that the Service will continue to use all its resources to fight crime.
Candice Rochelle Bobb, 35, who was five months’ pregnant, was pronounced dead shortly after suffering gunshot wounds while travelling in a vehicle in the city’s west end.
An emergency caesarian section was performed. The baby has been reported to be in stable condition.
“The tragedy of a pregnant woman shot to death while medical staff fight to save the life of her unborn child has reminded us of the threats we face,” Saunders said, at a news conference at police headquarters on May 17. “We have seen, this year in Toronto, very significant increases in homicides and other gun-related crime. We are not alone. The Washington Post reported three days ago that the first months of 2016 have seen increases in homicides in more than two dozen major U.S cities. We can take no comfort from that.”
Saunders said there is no simple solution to increasing gun violence and other complicated problems.
“What we must do is channel our efforts in productive directions," he said. “We are using all the resources at our disposal. We track and analyze crime around the clock. We deploy our people where they are the most needed. We use all the investigative techniques we have developed to identify, investigate and put before the courts those who have made a conscious decision to embrace a life of violence.
Communities must realize that, united, they have enormous power that must be mobilized
“Many people over the last two days have said that ‘something must be done’. That is not enough. We must translate that genuine anger and concern into tangible action that increases the ability of the City of Toronto to beat those committed to violence. We know we have work to do to rebuild public confidence. We are working extremely hard and will continue to do so to make sure police officers receive the best training and support to deal with the challenges they encounter every day. We are working hard to ensure that our contacts with all the people of Toronto are marked by respect and professionalism.”
Acknowledging there are complicated issues that divide the police and the community, Saunders said he’s committed – without reservation -- to work as hard as he could to resolve those issues.
“But the only way we can be successful is if we all contribute in any way we can to fight against violence in our communities,” he pointed out. “Communities must realize that, united, they have enormous power that must be mobilized.”
Saunders said politicians, police, community leaders and regular citizens all have a part to play in the process.
“In every community in this city, there are people who know who is committed to a life of violence,” said the city’s top cop. “That information is the most precious resource we have, the most potent weapon in the fight. But we must make much better use of it. Those who have information need to come forward, anonymously or otherwise, to help everyone. Public outrage is not enough. Translated into tangible action, with all parts of the community working together, we can, and will make a difference.”
There have been 29 homicides in the city, so far, this year compared with 15 for the same period last year, 20 in 2014 and 22 in 2013.
“Really, between 2013 and now, there has been a 27 per cent increase,” Saunders said. “Having said that, though, we still have to work together so that we could resolve these homicides as best as possible, especially the ones that are out in public spaces. Those are the ones that are not committed in vacuums and we know that people can assist us with those. A lot of times people think they don’t have information that does have value and yet it has tremendous value.”
Anyone with information on the murder of Candice Rochelle Bobb is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.