Ontario Plans to Spend $3 Million on Expanding Toronto's Police Surveillance Camera System
The announcement came as Toronto experiences a wave of gun violence, some of which has been blamed on gang turf wars.
- By Haley Samsel
- Aug 27, 2019
The province of Ontario is planning to spend at least $3 million on doubling the number of video surveillance cameras used by police to fight gun violence and gangs in Toronto, according to the province’s leader.
Ontario Province Premier Doug Ford announced the move on Friday alongside Toronto Mayor John Tory. The city will get $2 million this year and $500,000 in 2020 and 2021 to implement the change, which will increase the police cameras from 34 to 74, CTV News Toronto reported.
The move comes in the wake of a new wave of violence in the city this summer and a new police initiative called “Project Community Space.” The department launched its 11-week “intelligence-led operational plan” on August 15 with $4.5 million in funding from municipal, federal and provincial governments. As part of the operation, more police officers are being stationed in neighborhoods where crime has risen in recent months.
The $3 million investment is separate from the previous funding but has the same goal: to make Toronto communities safer and prevent gun violence deaths. Ford has already committed another $25 million over the course of four years to battle guns and gangs in the province.
“My message to these violent criminals, to the people terrorizing innocent families is this: we are coming for you, we will catch you and we will bring you to justice,” Ford said during a press conference.
Mark Saunders, the Toronto police chief, said he has heard several requests from residents for more cameras in communities where violent crime is a regular occurrence. His department and the city’s leadership hope the cameras act as a deterrent to criminals.
“When you look at many of our cases, technology, especially the CCTV cameras, have made a tremendous impact,” Saunders said. “It is one of those tools, in conjunction with a whole bunch of other tools, that we can use to get this right.”
There have been at least four fatal shootings in Toronto in the past two weeks, according to CP24. That number has concerned residents and police, who say they are still planning more measures to address the problem.
“I can tell you that we will be putting additional resources in specific places that we think will help deter and reduce the gun violence that’s occurring in the city,” Saunders said earlier this month.