The number of people killed by gunfire in Toronto has tripled compared to the same time last year, while overall shootings are also up dramatically.
Friday night’s double slaying in an east-end LCBO parking lot were the 17th and 18th gun deaths in the city, compared to only six in 2015 and nine in each of the two preceding years.
And the total number of shooting incidents has also increased substantially, hitting 120 from 88 a year prior.
The head of the police hold-up squad said last week that there’s “probably a change in the criminal mindset,” leaving them “feeling more comfortable” carrying firearms.
Asked whether he viewed this as a result of a halt being put to the controversial police practice of carding — where officers stop people unrelated to any active investigation — Earl didn’t rule out the possibility.
“I think there’s lack of engagement or lesser engagement. I don’t want to say street checks — engagement. Police officers are used to engaging with gang members and good people all the time,” he said while announcing a kidnapping investigation that turned up 10 firearms.
“If police officers slow down on the engagement that may have something to do with it, but it’s not the only thing,” he said.