A recent spate of shootings has again drawn attention to the spike in gun violence being seen in Toronto so far this year.

On Wednesday night a man was shot dead near Jane Street and Maple Leaf Drive and within a two-hour span from late Thursday night to early Friday morning police responded to another two shootings.

One of those shootings took place a short distance from Yonge-Dundas Square and resulted in a man suffering serious injuries while the other near Keele Street and Lawrence Avenue West sent two men to hospital, one with life-threatening injuries.

The shootings, all of which remain unsolved, are just the latest incidents in what has been a bloody year on city streets.

As of Aug. 17, there had been a total of 103 shootings resulting in death or injury so far in 2015, which represents a 56 per cent increase from the same point in 2014.

The statistics for shootings not resulting in injury or death are even more alarming with a total of 153 recorded as of Aug. 17, which represents a 98 per cent jump from the previous year.

“In terms of an overall trend it is concerning,” Toronto police Deputy Chief Peter Sloly told CP24 on Friday. “Almost every major jurisdiction across North America is experiencing an uptick in shootings, though, so there is something going on more than just what’s happening on our streets.”

A number of high-profile incidents, including a deadly shooting at Muzik nightclub and the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Lecent Ross inside a Rexdale home, have put additional attention on the issue of gun violence so far this summer.

Speaking with CP24, Sloly said that violent crime has actually been on the decline for a number of years, making the rise in shootings all the more inexplicable.

“We have put extras resources in place, we have put extra officers into the neighbourhoods that are most affected and we are doing extra networking with our counterparts across the country to make sure we have the best information available to reduce this crime impact,” he said.

Tory says community needs to step up

Mayor John Tory was asked about the increase in gun violence while attending the opening ceremony for the Canadian National Exhibition on Friday morning and told reporters that he is “satisfied that the police are dedicating every resource.”

Tory, however, said that police need the support of the community to truly tackle the issue of gun violence head-on.

“We have to decide as a community that we are going to keep the city as safe as it has always been and that is going to require people cooperating with the police, reporting guns in your neighbourhood that shouldn’t be there and frankly taking an interest in the young people in your neighbourhood,” he said. “If we work together on this, I think it will have the desired effect.”

Though the number of shootings is up considerably so far in 2015, the number of homicide (32) is only up 15 per cent from this point last year and is actually down from the numbers seen at this point in 2012 and 2013.

The solve-rate for homicides, however, stands at only 50 per cent, which Sloly said isn’t good enough.

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