Is Gun Violence on the Rise in Mississauga and Beyond?

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Gun violence may not be the most prevalent criminal activity in Mississauga, but shootings are unfortunately not uncommon in our city. Firearm-related offences are on the rise, and now, the federal government is stepping in.

The Government of Canada has announced that it's cracking down on gun and gang violence across the country. In total, the feds are set to inject up to $327.6 million over the next five years, and $100 million annually afterwards, into initiatives that aim to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities.

In general, this investment is "part of [Canada's] commitment to make it harder for criminals to get and use handguns and assault weapons and to reduce gun and gang violence."

Further, the federal government will host a national Summit on Criminal Guns and Gangs in March 2018. The Summit will bring together experts, practitioners, front-line personnel, and decision makers to talk about the "challenges, solutions and best practices in the fight against gun crime and in combating the deadly effects of gangs and illegal guns in communities across Canada."

Across Canada in 2016, there were a whopping 2,465 criminal firearms violations - a 30 per cent increase over a three-year period since 2013.

But what does gun violence look like in Mississauga?

According to Peel Regional Police's 2016 Annual Report, there were 54 occurrences where a firearm was discharged in Brampton and Mississauga in 2016, a 25.6 per cent increase from 2015, when there were 43 occurrences.

Even more disturbing are the number of shooting victims and the estimated number of rounds fired in 2016 and 2015:

(Graphic courtesy of Peel Regional Police)

According to Peel police, there were 38 shooting victims in 2016, a 58.3 per cent increase since 2015, and 271 estimated rounds fired in 2016, up a disturbing 100.7 per cent since 2015.

Cracking down on gun violence is without a doubt a necessary action.

"Too many young people have been killed and too many communities have been marred by gun crime and gun violence," said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in a recent statement. "It doesn't have to be this way. By working together, we can make our communities safer through greater enforcement, collaboration and prevention."

Gun and gang violence are intertwined, according to Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. In fact, gang-related homicides involve firearms at a much higher rate of 76 per cent than non-gang related homicides, which sit at 20 per cent.

From 2012-2016 alone, jurisdictions across Canada have reported a huge increase in incidents related to organized crim, including first-degree murder (up 17 per cent) and human trafficking (up 300 per cent).

Further, the Canadian government notes that "the production, trafficking and sale of illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, are often the main cause of guns and gangs violence."

Hopefully, we'll see a decrease in these alarming statistics on gun violence in the coming years.

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