By now, you’ve likely heard—over and over and over—about Toronto’s particularly low homicide rate in 2011, which dropped to a 25-year low of just 47 murders, down from 62 in 2010. Sure, the numbers fell on the current mayor’s watch, but over at Spacing Toronto John Lorinc argues credit should actually be given to David Miller, Bill Blair, the provincial Liberals and a unique approach to preventing crime—a touchier, feelier method that wouldn’t resonate with a cop-loving conservative like Rob Ford.
In a bit of an ironic twist, our police-involved chief magistrate surely owes a huge debt of gratitude to Socialist Mayor™ David Miller for the latter’s role in the long-term improvement in Toronto’s violent crime rate, which crested in 2006 during the so-called year of the gun. And while he’s at it, Ford should toss a great big bone to the provincial Liberals for their role, which has also been significant.
Of course, Ford and his right-wing cronies will do nothing of the sort. But the record strongly suggests that the Miller/Bill Blair approach—a mix of community policing and outreach, preventative measures aimed at disenfranchised young people and broad-ranging, multi-agency investigations of gun-and-drug import operations—has clearly proven to be far more effective on the ground than Julian Fantino’s militaristic manner.
When it comes to Ford, though, we’re not exactly sure where he stands. During the mayoral campaign, he promised to add 100 extra cops to the force, so we know he thinks their presence is inherently valuable. Ford also said the police were “too nice” during the G20, so we can wager his idea of law enforcement is probably more militant than Miller’s. And we can assume his seemingly unconditional support for the boys in blue (budget demands aside, even though he waffled on them anyway) will likely continue, given his strong conservative base. Still, he’s offered little in the way of an actual vision for combatting crime. But as his predecessor demonstrated, policing is tricky work—you can’t just put more cops on the beat and hope for the best.
• LORINC: Ford, Miller and the crime file [Spacing]
• GTA homicides for 2011 [Toronto Star]
• Toronto murder rate plummets in 2011 [Toronto Sun]
• By the numbers: Toronto’s murder rate drops sharply in 2011 [National Post]