Police And Province Working Together To Rid Ontario Streets Of Guns And Gangs
The Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) was launched in 2007 in 15 Ontario communities. It has since grown to 17 communities.
Modeled after the Toronto Anti-Violence Strategy, PAVIS helps police fight guns and gangs by supporting targeted enforcement in areas where gang activity is an issue, focusing on crime prevention and building relationships with youth and mobilizing communities.
Since its inception, the McGuinty government provided more than $16 million for PAVIS. Ontario will now provide a further $15 million over the next two years to the police services that are taking part in PAVIS. They are:
- Amherstberg Police Service
- Brantford Police Service
- Durham Regional Police Service
- Greater Sudbury Police Service
- Halton Regional Police Service
- Hamilton Police Service
- Kingston Police Force
- Lasalle Police Service
- London Police Service
- Niagara Regional Police Service
- Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service
- Ottawa Police Service
- Peel Regional Police
- Thunder Bay Police Service
- Waterloo Regional Police Service
- Windsor Police Service
- York Regional Police
PAVIS success stories
PAVIS grants allowed the Waterloo Regional Police Service to conduct "Project Grandslam" that targeted a criminal gang known as the "Luminati Brotherhood Club". The service's Gangs and Guns unit led a long and thorough investigation on key members of the club suspected of involvement in dealing heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana.
The investigation led to the arrest of the leaders of the club and the dismantlement of this criminal gang.
- Project Grandslam led to the seizures of drugs with a street value estimated at over $3.2 million.
- Officers of the Waterloo Regional Police Service also seized nine firearms during the arrest of the Luminati Brotherhood Club leadership.
- A total of 221 charges were laid against 26 persons arrested as a result of the investigation.
The Hamilton police service used PAVIS grant to create the Addressing Crime Trends In Our Neighbourhoods or ACTION Team which puts 40 uniformed officers into highly visible, foot and bicycle patrol in some of our most challenged neighbourhoods.
One such area, Beasley Park, was plagued by drug and gang-related activity, leading to fear in the community. The ACTION team worked with the community to address these issues. As a result, residents now feel that they have regained their neighbourhood.
In downtown Hamilton, residents, shoppers and merchants now feel much safer and enjoy renewed prosperity thanks to the efforts of the police officers of the ACTION Team.
- Calls to police for muggings in Hamilton neighbourhoods where the ACTION unit is deployed are down 27 per cent since its creation in May 2010.
- In the same areas, calls to police for shootings, robberies and other life-threatening incidents are at their lowest levels since May 2010, compared to the previous four years.
- Since May 2010, ACTION unit members have made 700 arrests, laid 1,000 charges and seized over $400,000 in illegal drugs.
PAVIS funding enabled the Greater Sudbury Police Service to create the Taking Action on Guns and Gangs (TAGG) project. TAGG helped police to focus their attention on an area of the city where key highways meet and that had become a focal point of criminal activity.
Police officers were able to increase their presence and visibility that led to a significant decrease in drug-related crime, violent crime and gun violence. The police have worked with the area's young people and helped diminish the influence and any perceived attractiveness of the gang lifestyle.
- In the last two years, TAGG-related arrests have led to more than 700 charges being laid for diverse criminal and drug offences.
- TAGG operations have led to the seizures of illegal drugs valued at $1.8 million and $350,000 in cash.
- Intelligence gathered by police has identified 30 gang members associated with 11 different street gangs.
Golden Horseshoe (Halton Region, Niagara Region, Brantford, Hamilton)
The Integrated Guns and Gangs Unit formed by officers from the Halton, Niagara, Hamilton and Brantford police services, has identified members of at least four criminal gangs active in the Golden Horseshoe area. PAVIS funding allows officers to monitor gang members and prevent them from committing further crimes.
- In 2010, the Integrated Guns and Gangs Unit (IGGU) arrested 114 individuals and laid 217 charges.
- Members of the IGGU seized 28 weapons, including a machine gun.
Reducing guns and gangs violence
The McGuinty government has also:
- provided funding to put more than 2,000 more officers on Ontario streets.
- established a first-of-its-kind, $51 million Guns and Gangs Strategy which enables criminal and justice systems to work collaboratively to rid Ontario's streets of guns and gangs