Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Urban rap music, drug sales and fatal shootings in Toronto

Nicholas Kohler:

Three shooting deaths this weekend added to a months-long spate of gunplay that a new Ipsos Reid poll says has left residents of Toronto feeling "under siege" by gangs that draw their nourishment from drug sales and their inspiration from urban rap music.

Gun crime and violence has become the most important issue facing the City of Toronto, according to 55 per cent of the residents who participated in the poll up 40 percentage points from a similar survey conducted two years ago.

The degree of concern more than doubles the number of Torontonians who cite gun violence as their primary concern over those who list "garbage" as the most pressing issue facing the city.

The findings of the survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the National Post and Global News, arrived after a number of shootings ended weeks of relative calm.

A gun slaying on Saturday and two Sunday brought to three the number of firearms-related homicides over the weekend.

On Monday, more shots were fired during a drug-related incident.

Such apparently random acts of violence have left 87 per cent of city residents believing that "Toronto is becoming more violent compared to five years ago" up 21 percentage points from a survey conducted in 2000, when 66 per cent of respondents agreed with the same statement.

And while 74 per cent of Torontonians said they felt safe in 2003 walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, only 64 per cent feel the same way now, the poll says.

"... I do have concerns about the increasing number of gun incidents in which people are being killed," said Paul Godfrey, a former member of the Toronto police commission who is now president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club.

"I think you'd have to be living in a vacuum if you didn't realize that what we have here is a spike in the use of guns and young people shooting other young people."

The recent violence, the vast majority of respondents said, is driven by gangs and the drugs the traffic in, a belief the Toronto police force largely endorses.

"The overwhelming majority of this gun violence that our city has experienced is being perpetuated by people who are involved in gangs," police Chief Bill Blair said Monday after hearing the poll results.

But more than gangs, 63 per cent of the poll's respondents pointed to the "glamourization of gang culture" found, some say, in movies and rap music videos that tend to glorify gangsters and the guns they wield as a factor in the increase in Toronto's gun violence.

Recent moves by the city to move more patrol officers into Toronto's gritty northwest corner, where much of the violence has occurred, reflects the belief of 64 per cent of residents, who favour an increase in police presence and stricter penalties rather than more money spent on social programs aimed at fostering alternatives to gang culture among youths.

Toronto's battle against gun violence and gangs

Six shootings in 24 hours, two dead

T.O. bus driver target of random gun violence

1 Comments:

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Others, however, sought to stress the importance of social programs in neighbourhoods where they say disenfranchised young people are in the grips of desperation."

Exactly how these "young people" are, or have been, "disenfranchised", is not clearly explained.

But it sounds good, in a politically correct transfer the blame onto society in general sort of way.

The article itself is a modern masterpiece of political correctness, as I assume the shootings all involved blacks, which would be typical of recent stories about this sort of thing in Toronto. Yet this basic fact was left out of the story. There must be a class called 'Politically correct fact omission' that is taught in journalism schools these days. Or something like that.

 

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