The province has committed $3 million in funding to help Toronto police more than double the number of surveillance cameras they operate across the city amid a rise in gang-related violence so far this summer.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at the Toronto Police College in Etobicoke on Friday morning.
He said that the money will help Toronto police increase the number of surveillance cameras they operate from 34 to 74, something that he said could be a “real deterrent” to criminals not to mention a potential source of evidence for police investigating violent crimes.
The investment is in addition to the up to $1.5 million that the province committed earlier this month to an 11-week community safety initiative dubbed “Project Community Space.”
“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. “
The announcement of the new provincial funding comes at the end of a violent week in Toronto.
There have been four fatal shootings in the city since last Friday, including the brazen daylight murder of Paolo Caputo on the sidewalk outside his restaurant on Roncesvalles Avenue on Aug. 16.
Speaking with reporters at Friday’s announcement, Police Chief Mark Saunders said that he hears “more and more requests” for cameras from residents in communities where violent crime has become an issue and believes the expansion of the TPS’s CCTV program will help some residents feel safer.
He said that the cameras aren’t a solution in and of themselves but can be part of a multi-pronged approaching to combating gun and gang violence.
“When you look at many of our cases technology, especially the CCTV cameras, have made a tremendous impact,” he said. “It is one of those tools, in conjunction with a whole bunch of other tools, that we can use to get this right.”
The money will be conveyed over three years with the city receiving $2 million to pay for the new cameras this year and $500,000 in each of the next two years to cover operating costs.
Saunders said that the placement of the new cameras has not yet been determined but will, be “intelligence led” with input from the TPS’s Integrated Gun and Gang Task Force and frontline officers.