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@TorontoPolice Chief Mark Saunders Year-End News Conference | Thursday, Dec.27th, 2018

Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu: Good morning and welcome to Toronto
Police Headquarters. I’m Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu. Today I would like to
introduce Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. He will be addressing the media
at our year-end news conference. Sir, Chief Mark Saunders: Thank You Jenifferjit. And thank you for being here. 2018 has been an incredibly busy year for the Toronto Police Service.
Not only because of the number of high-profile incidents and complex
criminal investigations but with the day-to-day policing responsibilities and
modernization initiatives that took place. Along the way we were constantly
reminded of how the members of the Toronto Police Service go above and
beyond to make the City of Toronto the safest and best place to live. First a
brief overview of some of the cases that dominated the public’s interest as well
as the police services resources. Not only did we have a high-profile homicide
case to look after, we also had to respond to to mass casualty attacks
which left a lot of tremendous loss of life and loss of injuries for our
citizens. Multi-jurisdictional investigations we continue to work with
other law enforcement and partners through it out
guns, gangs and drugs. Project Patton and projects Switch were two that were well
publicized. As well as rescue children from sexual assaults and exploitation
with Project Mercury. Parental abduction is an example how we as an agency never
ever give up on any case that we have and we can’t forget miss Man-Lewis being
reunited with her son after 31 years of not seeing him. Throughout the
investigations of these higher profile cases the service continued to respond
to an ever creasing demand of day-to-day activities. There’s an increase in most
of the major crime indicators, an increase of homicides, an increase to the
shootings, an increase in gun seizures and in particularly there were more
handguns seized than most years. These trends are not just seen in the city of
Toronto but the scene right across North America. While keeping the city as safe
as possible we continue to evolve as a service. Making many changes to improve
our service delivery and create a modernization working environment for
our members. We consolidated units and move towards district models. We’re
piloting new shift schedules. We have changed how we respond to various calls
to service, such as parking complaints thefts from gas stations and theft
flicker. We strategically deployed naloxone to many of our frontline
officers who respond to the highest number of opioid-related overdoses and
the enhanced neighbourhood officer pilot launched in October continues to run and will run through 2019. All of these steps deliver on the three goals which we talk
about when we deal with the modernization plan. Being where the
public needs us the most, developing stronger partnerships to enhance
Community Safety and dealing with the complex needs of a large urban city such
as Toronto. Throughout the year despite everything that happened our members
have truly done outstanding things. They’ve rescued people from drowning in
an elevator, they’ve prevented suicides, they’ve rescued people and pets from
freezing water, they brought shoes to homeless people,
they’ve supported families by purchasing groceries, they’ve walked into gun fights,
knife fights, saved lives and continue to arrest when necessary. This year we’ve
started to hire. We are going to continuously hire right now. We’re
going to be hiring more police officers, more auxiliaries, more special constables, more
communication call takers, and a whole host of other things. I’m proud of the
work that the men and women of the service have done this year. We’re
looking forward to 2019 and the challenges that may come to us and
having said that I will open the floor to questions. Reporter: Chief, 2018 as you mentioned there has been a lot of tragedy in our city, we had the van attack, the mass shooting, on the Danforth there was the Bruce McArther murder investigation, and of course the ongoing violence you see every day. In fact the
shooting was just reported a few minutes ago by police. As Toronto’s police chief
what has this year been like for you and and what are the biggest challenges. Chief Mark Saunders: Well it- there have been a multitude
of challenges I am concerned about the gunplay that’s happening in the city.
This is a conversation that Chiefs from North America are having. I’m part of the
major city chiefs Association and there is an uptick of violent crimes issues
that relate with street gangs and when those manifests that becomes critical.
You know has parents mom, dad, you start to be concerned about is it okay for my
daughter, my son, to be out there. As the police agency, we do have a higher social
involvement in how we solve crimes and removing the perceptions that are out
there I think are something that are critical. Next year we plan on continuing
with the modernization plan. There are a lot of things that we are looking at
changing that I think are necessary for today’s environment. But my number one
issue, number one is the the the front line and ensuring that we continue the
modernization plan, continue to get the right resources in the right place at
the right time and number two the gun violence is something that gives me some
concern. Reporter: (inaudible) You did try in the summer deploying 200 officers to do night shifts and try to get a handle on the gun violence happening, during that eight weeks though there were still 64 shootings that happened. Chief Mark Saunders: Well let’s take things into perspective. This is this is an urban city, this is
the third fourth largest city and in a North American continent 2.8 million
people and growing. When we look at gun play there is no magic pill solution.
Those officers when you look at the numbers and you take that time frame in
which we deployed those officers compared to the other years there was a
reduction in the shooting occurrences. There is reduction in victims being shot
that was short-term we have ongoing long-term strategies that we’re going to
be implementing to change the playbook in order to work with other partnerships
to ensure that the gun reduction pieces is looked after. Reporter: (inaudible) Chief Mark Saunders: Well so and I – you know again, I think you’ve given me a magic pill solution and you’re not accurate with that. There
are multitude of issues. So I’ve spent the year speaking about it the police
can’t do it alone. To think that the success story is to
arrest our way out of this is a falsehood. 90% of these folks that we
arrest are out and will be out and will continuously be released. When we take
project patent as an example some of those members that we arrested were
people that were arrested in Prior a large-scale projects. When you take New
York City’s template they had the very same challenge, they had the the public
perception and there were some realities that certain segments of the
community were being ordinately stopped and questioned more so than
others. They changed their playbook as we are as well too. We have to develop
stronger community relationships with all segments of our of our community if
we’re going to get it right. We know and we’ve seen results that whenever we work
in partnership with communities we have more sustainable solutions. The
enforcement piece plays an important part. I’m not here to say that it’s
softer policing, I’m here to say it’s smarter policing and smarter policing will
have more sustainable solutions I think there has to be agencies on the front
end that prevents these young boys from shooting others. There’s a lot of funding
that needs to be put in and again not grant funding core funding into the
communities nobody has ever, that I know of was born saying I want to be a street
gang member. We have to look at the root cause of this we, have to give solutions
for that and the government’s are participating in that. The enforcement
piece is ours and then the deterrent factor. When someone shoots somebody
they’re going to jail. So to help them write job resumes and things like that
at that point in time it’s not the right solution. There should be a deterrent
factor when anyone decides that they’re gonna take a gun and shoot somebody else.
Developing the relationship piece is what’s critical first and foremost. Our
folks have done a fantastic job. When you look at the number of firearms that have
been apprehended or seized 514 222 more handguns, sorry 514 handguns, that’s 222
more guns than last year. 172 more guns than the year before.
So every day we’re seeing more guns so that’s one aspect that has to be looked
at, and then the second piece is what’s motivating people to use a gun to
resolve issues and those are things that we can’t just do as an enforcement piece.
It is necessary but it has to be streamlined, it has to be surgical, it has
to be intelligence-led if we’re going to get it right. Reporter: Just to quickly follow up, people are saying that criminals are laughing at you. That a gun ban is not going to work. They’ll still get the guns illegally. What do you say to that? Chief Mark Saunders: I’m interested in
people are motivated to shoot other people. If anyone wants to put any tools
to reduce that I’m supportive of it, but me, the vast majority of members of the
community, have no interest in obtaining a firearm and shooting somebody else.
I’ve said earlier that most of our gun violence is Street gang related and I
stand by that. That’s not just Toronto, that’s all of urban cities right across
North America. The street gang issue is our primary concern. Most people are
getting shot are people that are living high-risk lifestyle in conjunction with
with being associated to street gang and so that’s the root of the
matter that we have to look at. That’s what we have have to collectively work
together in order to properly reach sustainable solutions. Reporter: The all time rate went up this year, are you confident that this is not the new normal? That there won’t be another record year in 2019? Chief Mark Saunders: As I stated early
on, this is a year like norther year. We had two mass casualty incidents. There’s
a lot to be said for that. On top of that we’ve arrested somebody, allegedly a serial
killer. You factor all of these things and for me to say that this is a normal
year, I’d be misleading you and you’d be misleading the public if that’s what
you’re going to be turning towards. This was a unique year I’m certainly not
looking for another year like that in the foreseeable future. 1991 was when we
had 89 homicides it took a long time to get to to surpass that and I’m not
looking at an upward trend. I think this was a unique year where there was a lot
of loss of life and a growing concern. Not just for the police service but for
the community as a whole and I do believe that next year will be a
different year. Reporter: (Inaudible) … very clear, and you said this right now that when there’s an inordinate number of homicides it’s directly related to street gang violence. As we wrap up the year how would you describe the situation? When we talk about street gang violence in the city right now from a policing perspective and a community safety
perspective. Chief Mark Saunders: Well I mean, it’s such a broad question. My answer goes back to
root cause again. The numbers are one thing. Access to firearms is an increase,
there definitely is an access to firearms. I can say that very
confidently but people that are motivated to shoot other people I’ve got
concerns with and if people think that it’s a matter of just arresting and
all as well that’s a far cry from the truth, that’s a far cry from the
right solutions for today’s environment. We need to have the resources necessary
at the front end, back end and of course our enforcement piece in the middle in
order to get this right. Reporter: There have been quite a few gaps between officers and different communities, most notably of course you saw the report, the black community as well as with the LGBT community. Do you think that you guys have made any moment forward with the LGBT community for example? Because you’ve had a long time now to kind of implement those things that we talked about earlier in the year. Chief Mark Saunders: No I think that we have moved forward and I think we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not gonna say that we are
where we need to be but what I like about this organization is the
desire to want to get it right. When we talk about the modernization plan we
talked about it being community centric and when we talk about community it
means everybody and so in order to get that right it’s the ability of sitting
down at the table having those conversations with all segments of the
of the city to figure out what do we need to do to enhance our relationships.
The vast majority of our crimes are called in by the community. If the
community doesn’t call we can’t solve crimes. So there’s a relationship piece
that is necessary in order to help those that are in need of help, number one. But
then to be proactive you have to develop that trust and accountability piece. Our
neighbourhood officer program is very very important when it moves towards
that. Getting intelligence to to deal with local issues I think is the go
forward, is the way that we need to go in order to get this right. I can tell you
there is a tremendous amount of work put in to the relationship building with all
of segments of all the communities right across the city. You’ll see more of that
in in 2019 as well too. It’s absolutely necessary if we’re going to get it right. Reporter: Chief do you have any regrets for giving sort of false comfort to the gay community about the (Inaudible) Chief Mark Saunders: No I would say that there are a lot of lessons learned. The Toronto Police Service we knew that something stunk
which is why we put resources in long before the apprehension of Bruce
McArthur and in fact not only do we put resources in and do countless
production judicial or authorizations we put in high-level resources, we put in
homicide investigators long before a crime was determined and I think that
that was fundamental in the apprehension because of the fact that
when we had the latest homicide we were able to go back to all of the work, the
millions of dollars, the thousands of thousands of hours put into that we’re
able to open that up and to put things together to lead to where we are
today. Having go forward and it was something
that I spoke on earlier that was misrepresented and so when it comes to
any type of crimes that have any kind of sexual overtone there’s something wrong
with the judicial system. I don’t know what it is and I’m looking for what is
the solution. Is it at the front end with reporting to the police? Is at the back
end through judicial process of going to trial? But we need to fix it.
There is a defect when as law enforcement right across North America
whenever we put up a picture or any kind of thing and saying we believe there are
more out there. There’s a problem. There’s a gap. I want to work with agencies to
figure out what is that gap and what can we do to prevent the victimization of
people and I think that’s unnecessary go forward if we’re going to get it right. Reporter: (inaudible) … Bruce McArthur investigation well ideally what I would like to do is
wait until the investigation is over and then we can start publicly talking about
things along those lines the work that was done was incredible acting inspector
its Inga did a fantastic job with his team and they’re still doing a fantastic
job with the work that they have done the Homicide Squad is doing a fantastic
job with the amount of calls for services they’re dealing with now but
with every murder investigation and I’ve done many of them there are always
reduced there are always things that you learn to improve upon your skills from
your traits to to be better and so as an organization when we have a look at some
of the things that were real and some of the perceptions what do we do to reduce
or eliminate those those issues and so I’m looking forward for that opportunity
it’s a challenge for us to figure out what can we do to improve as an
organization well we’ve got the new missing persons unit that’s that’s up
and running right now so yeah that was one of the one of the factors you know
but but there there are a host of other things too that we need to take a look
at just to make sure that what can we do to help whenever the public has concerns
or issues we try to strip it down to find out what caused that and what can
we do to prevent that if we can do that lawfully understanding that we’re
dealing with with issues that go before the courts and there’s certain things
that can and cannot be said how the shootings are up homicides are
up I wasn’t affected how did that affect your ability to do a to day operations
he had a third of the city’s homicides that are still unsolved has an increase
the number of homicides affected Hartley’s ability to do
ability to solve well when you look at the the two million calls that we deal
with on a year-to-year basis and the over 5 million contact points that we
have with community on a yearly basis things were taxing but when we talk
about again the the the premise of the modernization plan is to create a model
at sustainable for today’s environment so when we look at the alternate
delivery methods and all those other factors we’re starting to see a
development we’re starting to move things in the right direction so when we
talk about the shift schedule as an example of some of the things that we
have done needs to help alleviate the pressures of the front line we’re
stripping down and taking a very hard look at what we need to do as an
organization what should we not be doing as an organization because before by
default it was when in doubt call the police and I’m here to say those those
days are getting numbered so the public wants the police to be there when the
police should be there we’ve got highly trained people that are skilled to do
certain things when they’re doing other things administrative things report
taking things there are other delivery methods that need to be put into place
for that so challenging yes to be answered about absolutely when you look
at the calls that we do and when you look at the response times that we have
for those critical calls they are very very good for an urban city and we’ll
continue to do that we’ve also hired more from communication services and
will continue to hire more to get it right to make sure that the public feels
confident when they call the police they will be there you know what we have operationally
we’ve debriefed that and we look at what what we did during that event and what
we can do to improve on that the fact that our frontline folks were there
within three minutes and 30 seconds answers that particular question we’re
there to answer the bell for those critical calls when we talk about Finch
and within seven minutes from from the first contact to the apprehension seven
minutes but to get into the minutiae right now there’s still some more things
that need to be looked at and questioned before we come out with any conclusions
on that particular incident sure there’ll be an opportunity to present
whatever we can to the public but it’s not going to be today when there’s an
opportunity I definitely make the public aware of that one really good one pretty close to the
next it’s a different it’s a different world
that we live in and and these are issues and pressures that a lot of the urban
cities are going through right now the most important thing is do you have a
plan our organization has a plan we continuously work on figuring out what
we need to do from a reactive perspective but also from a proactive
perspective as well so when we talk about our countering violent extremism
our model that we have is its world renowned in fact we had someone that
represented us deliver our model to the United Nations
so preventive is equally important and it speaks to the importance of
developing strong relationships with the community because when you strip a lot
of these things down right to the basics 90% of the time there’s a member of the
public that is aware of something but they don’t report so we know that when
we have officers in place when we develop stronger community relationships
that we will have more opportunity to be aware of certain things in front of the
incident from happening so that we’re not necessarily being focused on a
reactive but the proactive piece and I think that putting those tools in place
with this model I think will help us do just that I mean people are opening fire you know
the side cause you see back to that birth the magic pill again and it
doesn’t work that way we’re in an urban City shootings will happen let’s talk
about reality our role is to reduce though she leads to the best of our
ability you will never see an urban city that will have a zero shooting zero
homicides so I I want to be candid and I don’t want to make this sound sexy we
take every single shooting incident seriously and we’ll continue to do that
if we have stronger relationships with the community we have an opportunity to
reduce that but at the end of the day when a young man takes a gun and shoots
there are different entities that are responsible for that we are the
aftermath of that what is in front of that what are the resources that are put
in front of that what are the measuring tools to see whether or not things are
successful or not so to dump it on me and say what are you
going to do about it I’m going to educate the public and say if we’re
going to get it right it has to be collective and I’ll continue to do that
message so I hope that that message gets out there and people have an
understanding that that’s what it takes if we want to reduce the numbers but
it’ll never be zero yeah well if if you had a look at some of the things we have
in place if you go and you speak to the focus tables you will see a tremendous
amount of fantastic work that has done tremendous success stories that are all
available and at your fingertips to look at to see it is being done it is being
successful and we’ll continue to do that and we will expand those very types of
deliveries that I think are necessary but we need more resources other
agencies don’t need more resourcing for that the care providers
I’ll pick up their needles lawlessness yeah well you know I did I didn’t say
it’s not our job I’m very careful harm reduction is something that is
incredibly important when we look at the numbers of overdose deaths and I think
in 2016 it was six twenty seventeen it was eleven and in this year it’s like
169 so you’re seeing this exponential change so there is a problem that’s out
there not just looking at the downstream solutions but also looking at the
upstream solutions if we’re going to get this right having said that there is a
responsibility for us when it comes to any type of violent crime that is taking
place but when it comes to the Community Safety piece all hands has to be on deck
it’s not a matter saying here we’ve built this now police look after it
there has to be proper funding from all streams in order to have that strong
partnership to keep that area safe but you can’t just leave it through the
police you don’t want to bring police in harm reduction plans or initiatives it
is not going to be successful however I think there’s an opportunity to sit
across the table have those discussions make sure that the funding streams are
there in place so that a you can look after the harm reduction piece which is
what it’s all about but be the quality of life for people within those
communities they deserve to be in an environment where the resources are
there to keep the quality of life where it should be in terms of modernization our new where
you wanted to be at the end the plenty that obviously there was so much this
year that was awful where where are you in well I’m not
gonna sleek a chup we’re gonna continue the modernization plan and you know it
took a lot of time to get to where we are there things that we’ve implemented
the special constable program is doing a fantastic job within the first hundred
and eight days they took on over 23,000 calls that the front line people would
have taken had to have looked after over thirty three three thousand three
hundred of police work the front line people would have had to take so
expanding that I think becomes critical when we look at unverified alarm calls
when we speak about 97% of the alarms that we had to attend were false so
figuring it out so that it’s now we look at that three percent within a short
period of time our response has been reduced by 45 percent I’ve gone to those
types of calls so we’re looking at ways of doing business smarter when we talk
about the theft of gas talk of theft of alcohol and and utilizing not frontline
police officers but delivering the same service but it is done online we’re
seeing an increase of 65 percent for online so next year there’ll be a
promotion for more of that to happen parking which takes on hundreds of
thousands of calls per year the online mechanisms that we’ve put in
place for that are all playing a vital role so it’s the sum of all parts equal
into the whole it’s a matter of looking at things
reconfiguring those things the awareness piece of the public so they have an
understanding of what role they can play the misuse of 911 calls has gone up
educating the public on when to call 9-1-1
when there’s a power outage and your dishwashers off or your meats is in the
freezer that’s not a 911 call so there are a whole host of things and it’s an
evergreen process and we’re continuing to work towards that the hiring piece
we’re hiring again it is critical it’s important we do need frontline people
out there the pressures of the the frontline people are going through is
quite high right now we’ve seen an increase of calls for service we’ve seen
an increase of people coming in in reporting crimes as well too so there’s
a sense of satisfaction in which the public trusts us and they’re coming to
us more but with that there has to be the ability of answering that so looking
at putting the right resources and right places I think will maximize that the
modernization plan and also the technologies that are out there I’m
looking at hopefully by the end of next year body one cameras coming into play I
think that those are things that are that are all necessary if we’re going to
get it right for building the trust and accountability my goal is to make sure that I I create
the model that is effective and efficient keeping community safe and
working with the levels of government the the city hall the mayor and
councillors have been vital partners when it comes to that
the provincial government has been fantastic of helping strictly with the
gun violence reduction plan and the federal government has come into play as
well and giving us resources that have helped out from that front end piece
that he saw last week there was a presentation funds that will be
assisting our enhanced neighborhood officer program which will I think be a
tremendous benefit as we go forward so the budgets can be one piece the funding
is going to be the other piece the partnership piece is going to be the
other piece so there there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to what the
budget looks like I’m working with the board right now they understand what the
pressures are I report to the board with respect to what the budget needs to be
and why it needs to be and we’re in the process of those discussions right now yeah I have to get back to you on that
second question first question now we’re hiring and we’re not just hiring
frontline police officers we’re also hiring other resources so I spoke on the
special constables I’m looking at enhancing that next year as well because
that’s important and necessary in today’s environment this last class I
believe is 135 people that we have hired I’m looking at hiring a couple hundred
more for next year when we go into a 2019 as well too so we’re going to
continue to hire something that’s necessary it’s something that’s
important on the streets a little bit earlier that
that’s one of things that we tell people but well you know arresting as I stated
it’s not going to be the solution I’m very serious when I say ninety percent
of people that you arrest are going to be coming out and we have to look at
other approaches I don’t think the police are going to scare people that
are that are it is a deterrent no it will it is a deterrent and it definitely
is and so we’re looking at making sure that’s working with all levels of
government whether it’s changing laws or whether or not it’s it’s enhancing the
existing laws that we have to be to be put in place but when it comes to what
we do when it comes to the enforcement piece it’s a very small number of people
that have decided to join street gangs but they invoke the most violent right
across the entire city and and so from an investigative perspective the the men
and women guns and gangs and the frontline officers are doing a fantastic
job when you look at 51 division early in the year there was a rivalry incident
that was going on between two gangs the shootings went up significantly 51
division under superintendent Riviera put a team together and did a fantastic
job with with resolving that when you look at the vast reduction of shootings
that took place so we put the resources and play with that and the same thing
when we talk about our district model in the northwest end of the city where you
have 40 percent of the shootings year after year and when we moved to the
district model it gives the district an opportunity to reallocate the resources
for what the pressures are in that particular neighborhood it’s shooting
and so they’ve put a team together that has done some tremendous work when you
look at the numbers of apprehensions they they have made just recently they
were shot at so I mean the the gun violence is there we’re putting the
right resources into play but again it speaks to the enforcement piece we will
hold our own when it comes to that enforcement piece but there have to be
more things put in play on other streams as well in order for this well we’ve always made an impact when I
talk about the number of firearms we’ve apprehended but it when we’ve seized yeah there is well it depends on who you
ask in the public some will say absolutely not and some will say it’s
not about arresting so it’s a subjective question listen we are going to respond
to all the shootings and where we can we will apprehend I don’t think that that’s
a success story arresting people is not the success story arresting someone for
homicide can I get another question please thank you but yes I will say yes to all of that
when you look at the funding that is going towards those front end pieces
you’re seeing more funding you’re seeing more conversation with all levels of
government I’m seeing more of it than I have when I first got into this seat and
so I’m happy with the direction in which it’s going I think that we’ll start to
see some incredible results as time passes on but I can tell you things are
working right now really well and we’re going to do whatever we can to maintain
those relationships if we’re going to be successful well you know the guns are coming from
different places that the crime guns a lot of them are domestic so so that is
something that is concerned but I’m focused on two aspects number one yet
guns are coming in but people are motivated to use them that is something
that is more critical to me because that’s what’s invoking a lot of the
violence a lot of the concern from from the members of the public
so stripping it down and looking at that end of things we’ve got to go on concern
when we talk about technology and we talk about 3d printed guns right now you
will see an increase of that so it’s not a matter of you know the old school is
coming from this border or it’s coming in gas tanks and things along those
lines it’ll be able to be manufactured the playbooks already out and so I’m
spending more time focused on who wants a gun why do they want a gun and and how
do we stop that person from shooting that gun and I think that when it comes
to new policing that’s the the way in which we have to think because if
somebody wants a gun they’re going to get a gun from whatever stream there are
more streams to get access to a gun than ever before and so Kay dealing with that
is one aspect of it but changing that motivation or apprehending closer to
motivated to shoot I think is more of a primary concern in today’s environment do you think personally we have to crack
down we have to make are all our responsibility is to keep
the community safe and and to do everything that we can within law to do
just that I I won’t play the numbers game I think if we’re gonna get it right
it is the ability of balancing the reactive policing as well as a proactive
policing it’s the ability of working with a lot of the agencies that are out
there we have so many of the things that we have to look at and consider our
mental health people living with mental health the numbers are going up if you
want to talk about what frustrates me the most the numbers are going up every
single year and I’ve pontificated that I would like other agencies to step in and
help deal with that when you talk about flashpoints when it comes to law
enforcement and community that is one of them and whenever law enforcement is
dealing with a person that lives with mental health then all of these other
agencies have failed that person and so that is something that I’m looking
forward to working with other agencies for that and that is a discussion and
yes because people just want to make everybody invisible and that’s not the
case that is our reality every single day and so working on that I think is
something that’s critical getting that message out getting other agencies
involved more and not making it a police issue is something that I think would do
us all a tremendous benefit here we have you personally thing I have
to get that down I’m always interested in in doing whatever it takes for loss
of life I don’t look at numbers I don’t want to give people a number I think
that that’s a misrepresentation a lot of people have lost that loved ones I don’t
think that this is going to be happening next year we’ll see what next year
brings but I do think that this was a unique year for the loss of life and I
don’t think that this is going to be a trend that we’re going to have every
single year I stated that at a very onset of this you know when we had when
we had to mass casualty incidents in such close pricks on such a short period
of time I I think that that was a game changer I think that many members of the
community had some grave concerns it’s one thing when you’re dealing with the
gunplay it’s another thing when you’re walking down the street and looking over
your shoulder and are you sitting in a restaurant and with family and friends
and next thing you have this and when we had two of them back-to-back
it changed I think the public had some concerns and still has some concerns and
they’re concerned about you know it’s a city safe and I can come out and I can
read off the stats that will tell you as an urban City this is the safest urban
city you will have in North America but with time I think people will
understand that it is a safe city it’s unfortunate that we do have loss of life
the vast majority of that loss of life comes to people that are living in a
high-risk lifestyle I have concerns about that too but the general public
really felt stung by the to mass casualties back to back and it’s still
there so I that was something that I had great concern with and I still have
concern with that she put it a primary legislative changes
you would like to see or what are the greatest recommendations you’ve made in
terms of changes I wish I had that question pre-prepared for me um when it
when it comes to street gangs when it comes to street gangs I don’t think our
Criminal Code is I think it’s antiquated I’ll be frank about that when we go into
the communities that that don’t have the funding that have no hope that feel
despair 99% of those members in the community or law-abiding they care about
their babies just like we all do but at the same time they have to deal with
reality and they’re concerned for their safety when you deal with street gangs
it’s a it’s a team sport it’s not an individual sport so when a member from
Team a shoots a member from Team B in that particular neighborhood it makes it
very hard for you as a mom or a dad to pick up the phone and say this is who
did it and I saw everything because that one person gets apprehended but the rest
of the team is out there and their fear for retribution or a whole host of other
things too and and so I would like some methodology in which we can still get
that information and translate it so we can make it into a courtroom somehow and
I’m sure that if we sat down with the lawmakers we’d have that opportunity we
get a tremendous amount of calls from the public whenever shootings happen
it’s not that the members of the community are uncooperative they help
through Crimestoppers they help through other means of getting that information
to our homicide investigators but it’s not evidence there are people that would
be willing to provide that evidence if there was some mechanism in place that
was better than what we have right now because it’s their video what you saw it
goes to the bad guy and then next thing you know the whole neighborhood knows
what you said so there is very little motivation when it comes to that moral
compass where I want to help a cause it’s the right thing and B I don’t want
my babies caught in crossfire on a Saturday ass
but I’m genuinely scared that if I do that and the whole world knows that I
did that that I’m left on my own so whether or not the lawmakers can sit
down and talk about Street gang and the nuances to Street gang and and what you
can do to help people who want to contribute but who won’t contribute for
the only reason that they fear for their lives I think that that’s a reality in
the city and I think that’s something that I certainly like to be discussed at
a table where things can tangibly be done well when we look at the numbers
pedestrians being struck and an fatal pedestrian struck it was worth 37 last
year was 32 but the year before that it was 40 so the numbers are about the same
the one thing that I will say the cyclists have increased because it used
to be it was one in twenty sixteen then it was three in last year and now it’s
four and so roads have changed and there are a lot of moving parts a there are
more people on the roads there cyclists there were ebikes are a whole host of
other things everybody has to assume responsibility
when it comes to being on the road and that includes pedestrians when we look
at our pedestrian fatalities year after year it’s the same thing it’s over 65
mid-block are the highest causes so the educational piece is something that’s
important and I know that the city is working on doing things to make it more
senior friendly so it really is a matter of putting a lot of things together
I spoke candidly about utilizing technology better and more effectively
to create traffic safety people will obey the law if there is a sign that
tells them that what they should be doing and if there’s a method to capture
if they don’t do it but until that happens you won’t see significant change
I want to thank everybody for being here and I’m looking forward to 2019 thank
you for all the support that you have given a Toronto Police Service we are
actively listening sometimes we don’t agree on a lot of things but you have
played an instrumental part in solving a vast number of our crimes that have
occurred missing people you guys have been instrumental yesterday with Shirley
Lee being found that was a good news story but you putting the message out
there and helping us and to that conclusion I can’t say thank you enough
I wish everybody a happy new year looking forward to seeing you working
with you in 2019 thank you very much Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu: That concludes today’s news conference,
thank you.

Robin Kshlerin



  1. Accurate Crime REPORTER Posted on December 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Good information folks. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Victoria Winter Posted on December 27, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Chief Saunders, please do the right thing, don't allow politics to take over what you signed up for. If your police enforcement is being scrutinized and threatened by leftist who want you to lie for them to protect their vested interests than you are part of the problem too! Be real, be you, no one can do better! Please, I beg you!

  3. Omotayo Omolola Posted on January 13, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Weldone sir.God will continue to help you in Jesus name.