Residents march against violence in Jane and Finch neighbourhood
Police Chief Mark Saunders attends the 'Rallying Da6 against Violence’ march in the city's Jane and Finch neighbourhood on July, 23.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Saturday, July 23, 2016 12:14PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 23, 2016 12:29PM EDT
Residents of the city’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood and Police Chief Mark Saunders marched shoulder to shoulder on Saturday in a show of solidarity amid a recent rise in gun violence.
Saunders was one of several members of the Toronto Police Service on hand for the ‘Rallying Da6 against Violence’ march, which began at the intersection of Jane Street and Finch Avenue and terminated at Downsview Park.
The event was organized by community leaders in response to several high-profile acts of violence that have shook the city, including the fatal shooting of a pregnant mother in Rexdale in May.
“This is a testament to Toronto. These are Torontontonians that are saying ‘Look we need to work together and make this city a better place to live in’.” Saunders told reporters before the start of march. “It’s not a matter of the police leading. We are only one element and that’s the enforcement part.”
There have been a total of 37 homicides so far in 2016 compared to 28 at this point last year and 25 at this point in 2014.
Overall, shootings resulting in injury or death are also up slightly in 2016 with a total of 102 so far compared to 89 at this point last year.
Discussing the rise in violence, Saunders said it “is a concern” but added that there have historically been “peaks and valleys” in Toronto crime.
As well, the police chief said that events like Saturday’s march do have a real potential to put a dent in crime.
“I am glad that the media is here for something positive because normally in these areas it is something negative,” he said. “This is a positive thing and it is a step in the right direction.”
Saturday’s march, which began at 11 a.m., was attended by dozens of community members as well as representatives from the Toronto Police Service and various community agencies.
The goal of the event, according to one of its organizers, is to create a future in which residents work hand in hand with Toronto police in making their community safe.
“We are here today because we are trying to create an inclusive future. We are not looking at the past of alienation and exclusivity. We can design a collective outcome that is going to be beneficial to all,” Antonius Clarke told reporters.