TORONTO - What statistic do you find more troubling?
That the homicide rate in 2016 hit 60 for the first time in six years? Or that of the 60 murders in Toronto, 27 remain unsolved?
The 27 is ugly because it means that in addition to the fact there are many people who will not help police, more than two dozen stone-cold killers remain on the loose.
It means more shootings to come.
Both numbers are frightening.
We make special note of the statistics this year because in 2017 — thanks to the Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government and activists suggesting police are involved in systematic racism — new laws effectively eliminate information gathering and street checks.
Under the new rules, it will be police officers who are carded. When they stop someone, officers will have to hand over their identifying information with directions about how to launch a complaint against them.
Politically correct policing is coming to Ontario Jan. 1.
To Liberals, satisfying the political narrative seems more pressing than saving lives. No other administrative body would get away with having 14 more deaths on their watch from the year before (46 homicides at this time last year), with no questions asked.
Instead, the 60 figure has barely been noticed. The last time Toronto had 60 homicides in a year was 2010, when we recorded 61. And there are still six weeks left in 2016, so — fingers crossed — let’s hope the killing stops at 60. (The truth is, I actually count baby Kyrie as number 61 — the preemie pulled from innocent Candice Rochelle Bobb’s lifeless (shot up) body who bravely lived for three weeks.)
Without excellent policing and medical responses on the streets and in emergency rooms, there could have been many more deaths this year.
Just look at the numbers from Toronto Police:
• In 2016, there have been 372 shooting occurrences compared to 261 at this point last year — an increase of 42%.
• There have been 533 shooting victims this year (not all suffering wounds) compared to 390 at this time in 2015 — 36% increase.
• As for those wounded, there have been 140 injured compared to 117 the year before — a 19% increase.
• Of this year’s 60 murders, 35 have been by gun — 66% more than the 21 shooting deaths at this time in 2015.
If you have any doubt about there being more illegal guns on the street, just look at last week’s already forgotten news story that offered a glimpse into why things are so violent this year.
As Toronto Sun reporter Chris Doucette reported, a “12-year-old girl was swept up in a firearms bust” which netted two machine-guns and dozens of rounds of ammo. Six minors were arrested along with two adults charged with 111 weapons counts.
“You might think the first question that comes to mind is why were teenagers and a 12-year-old around those guns?” asked Mayor John Tory. “But the real question has to be why anyone in our city has any of those lethal weapons to begin with?”
They have them because there is an underworld gang war over turf and drugs that only shows itself when an innocent person is hit, a child is arrested or there’s a shoot-up in a swanky condo.
“The presence of weapons like that in our city represents nothing less than a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Tory.
He’s right. Danzig Street. Muzik Nightclub. Eaton Centre. Michael’s Restaurant. Jamestown. “Thanks to TPS for their usual solid police work,” the mayor said.
He’s right again.
But if I am honest, I worry about 2017’s statistics because police will have their hands more tightly tied behind their backs.
Anybody else troubled?