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York Police receives $220K to help battle guns, gang violence

York Regional Police saw 4,080 criminal offences committed by members of a criminal organization or street gang in 2022
2021 09 09 York Regional Police car stock(1)
York Regional Police vehicle.

York Regional Police have received $200,000 in provincial funding toward protecting the community against gun and gang violence.

The funding comes as part of a $2.8-million investment toward new equipment and technology to help police services deter gun and gang violence.

The funding comes through the Ontario Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Grant Program as part of Ontario’s Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy.

“York Regional Police is grateful for any funding from the province that helps us combat violence and ensure community safety,” said Jim MacSween, York Regional Police chief. “Funding for the expansion of CCTV camera surveillance will augment our ongoing efforts to eradicate gun and gang violence, illegal drug activity and human trafficking.”

York Regional Police is one of 24 police services across Ontario receiving CCTV grant program funding for 2023-24. Along with nine other police services, York Regional Police received the most funding at $200,000.

In 2022, York Regional Police made more than 37 frontline firearm seizures, which only accounts for guns seized during traffic stops or interactions with individuals and not through investigations. 

According to its 2022 annual statistics report, York Regional Police saw 4,080 criminal offences committed by members of a criminal organization or street gang for material benefits or financial gains or to obtain power and recognition and/or control specific areas of criminal activities. That was 720 more than in 2021.

The amount of organized crime incidents in York Region has steadily increased since 2018, when there were 1,744 organized crime incidents.

Intelligence shows more than 100 members of 37 different gangs are living in the region.

The funding to community policing programs goes toward prevention and intervention of gun and gang violence. 

“Prevention programs for communities and youth at high risk of involvement in gangs, gun violence and victimization, to help break the cycle of offending,” a government news release said. “These programs will help to address root causes and risk factors of violence, prevent criminal activity. They also support at-risk youth and young adults with alternatives to entering gangs or exit strategies for those already involved in gang activity.”

Ontario’s Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy,aims to provide new resources to local police, prosecutors, and community partners through investment.

The investments go to initiatives such as: a provincial gun and gang support unit; program funding that supports major investigation into organized crime areas; funding toward community police programs to prevent gun and gang violence; increased corrections intelligence and security; and more support to survivors of human trafficking.