Past time to worry about Toronto's gun violence problem

TORONTO - Last year, there were 11 homicides in Toronto by mid-April.

This year, there are 25, according to Toronto Police statistics.

You can figure out the math yourself. It’s not good. It’s bloody scary, just like the murder scene on a quiet residential street in Mimico I am at as I write this.

The blood all over the parking lot and the windshield wipers of the 28-year-old victim’s car still going was an eery scene to witness.

There’s nothing uglier than a real murder scene.

Homicide numbers 24 and 25 happened overnight in Toronto.

One at 8 p.m. outside a coffee shop in swanky Yorkville at Yonge and Bloor, just three subway stops from the infamous Jane Creba Boxing Day slaying to end the carnage of 2005, the year of the gun.

The police stats also show homicides in 2016 are more than double what they were at the same point that year.

A lot more than double. And shootings are way up, too — 60% over 2015.

So just how many corpses will there be this year? The projections are ugly.

Crunch the numbers — which does not take into account the warm seasons to come — and it shows Toronto is on pace to match or eclipse the record number of 86.

Those who dismiss that are not only being irresponsible but negligent.

Shooting victims are up almost 40% — 117 shooting victims compared to 85 in 2015, the statistics show.

It’s good the Black Lives Matter protesters took down their tents outside Toronto Police headquarters because police are not the problem.

It’s violent criminals who are the problem.

Police are, in fact, the solution. They, and our political leaders letting them be police, are the only hope we have for 2016 to not end up as the worst ever year for homicides and gun violence.

Brace yourself because the numbers are certainly shaping up that way.

“We are very concerned about the violence spike,” said Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack.

And he didn’t start saying it today. He has been saying it since last year when the numbers were higher than the year before and policing leaders and politicians were saying it’s just a “blip” and not a trend.

McCormack is not the only one who has been ringing the alarm bell.

Crime specialist and former Toronto cop Ross McLean has been screaming at me for weeks that things are out of control and that preventative measures have to be put in place immediately to stem the tide.

“There is no other way to say it other than to say the numbers are alarming and need to be talked about now while there’s still time to do something about it,” he told me.

It is scary because we really don’t know how bad this could be. What we do know is the Toronto Police statistics show the numbers could obliterate previous horrible years.

“The worst month in the year of the gun in 2005 was August with 11 homicides — but our January of 2016 already had 10,” said McLean. “If we just continue on at our current rate we are going to hit 86 homicides.”

Who knows, it could even be higher. After all, in 2015 we had 359 shooting victims and this year we are on place easily for more than 400.

So what does Chief Mark Saunders have to say about this? Silence so far.

Repeated requests to talk about it have not been met with a response.

Mayor John Tory should consider cutting his China trip short and get back and encourage the chief to speak to the city which has never experienced a homicide rate this high.

Premier Kathleen Wynne should spend more time worrying about police being able to do their jobs instead of handcuffing them. Before she meets with protesters who represent only a few people she should take a meeting with the police to come up with methods that everybody can live with to prevent this from becoming a record year for murders.

All the leaders should drop the politically correct policing and deal with what is really happening — it’s bloody and deadly on the streets of Toronto in 2016.

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