Peel police could get more tools to fight crime

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For the past two years, a noticeable uptick in crime—notably targeted gang violence—in Brampton and Mississauga has dominated headlines and prompted the cities to ask for help from the provincial and federal governments in the form of funding or better restrictions on firearms. 

More recently, Mississauga councillor Carolyn Parrish called for the reinstatement of the Malton police station following a fatal shootout that left one innocent man dead. 

Residents have also asked that Peel Regional Police, the police service that serves Brampton and Mississauga (Caledon is served by the OPP), get its fair share of funding to fight crime.

Now, it looks like Peel police could get a piece of the monetary crime-fighting pie from the province.  

On Oct. 22, the provincial government said it plans to combat crime by investing $6 million over three years in priority areas.

Police services across the province, including municipal, provincial and First Nations, are eligible to apply for funding under the Proceeds of Crime -- Front-Line Policing (POC-FLP) grant. 

The grant uses assets forfeited by the provincial and federal governments during criminal prosecutions to help the police carry out targeted crime prevention projects in the community.

The news will likely resonate in Peel, where crime appears to be creeping upwards.

According to Peel police's 2018 annual report, there were 26 homicide victims in the Peel Region, which is an increase of 63 per cent since 2017. There were also 242 stabbing victims in the year, which is an increase of 55 per cent since 2017. Around 53 people were victims of shootings, which accounts for an increase of 33 per cent.

In 2018, police laid charges for over 43,000 Canadian Criminal Code offences, which is an increase of seven per cent since 2017. Over 15,600 people were charged during the year, with 11 per cent of those people between the ages of 12 to 17.

“When we invest in our men and women in uniform, we get results,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement. “The grant is a double blow to organized crime. When our police cut off the resources the crooks use to fund their illegal operations, we take that money and give it back to police services, so they keep fighting crime and keeping us safe.”

The POC-FLP grant aims to help police combat gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment and human trafficking. 

The Ministry of the Solicitor General will issue a call for applications to Ontario police services for this grant this week. Successful applicants and projects will be announced in spring 2020.

Police services applying for funding will be required to partner with at least two community organizations from different sectors to encourage multi-sectoral collaboration (e.g., police working in partnership with community agencies to develop and implement a diversion program that helps youth exit gangs).

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