ORILLIA – NEWS – Law enforcement agencies are uniting to enhance their capacity to implement a Guns and Gangs Enforcement Strategy across Ontario.
“These enhancements better position the OPP, our law enforcement partners and justice sector agencies across Ontario to reduce the harms caused by guns and gangs in our communities. We will work relentlessly as one team to protect the safety and security of our citizens and visitors. The criminals are on notice – gangs, guns and all of the illegal activities that follow them are not welcome in our communities,” states OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.
An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-led Guns and Gangs Joint-Forces Operation (JFO) is expected to increase intelligence sharing and provide additional enforcement tools through a $75.1-million investment announced last fall by the Ontario government.
The JFO enables law enforcement partners to better collaborate to enhance public safety and effectively disrupt gang networks and their associated criminal activities. The Guns and Gangs JFO consists of the following police services: Anishinabek Police Service; Barrie Police Service; Brantford Police Service; Cornwall Police Service; Halton Regional Police Service; Hamilton Police Service; Kingston Police; London Police Service; Niagara Regional Police Service; Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service; North Bay Police Service; Ottawa Police Service; Peel Regional Police; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Sudbury Police Service; Sûreté du Québec; Timmins Police Service; Toronto Police Service; Waterloo Regional Police Service; Windsor Police Service; and York Regional Police.
The Thunder Bay Police Service who have been dealing with increased guns and gangs activity is not included in the new partners.
In addition to the Guns and Gangs JFO, the OPP-led Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) has been enhanced to better support specialized gun and gang investigations with the addition of new partners representing the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, Cornwall Police Service, Hamilton Police Service and Kingston Police to join the already existing PWEU partners – Durham Regional Police Service, London Police Service, Niagara Regional Police Service, Ottawa Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Windsor Police Service, and York Regional Police. Further, the United States Homeland Security Investigations-led Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) will gain additional positions, increasing the police presence at critical points of entry to curtail the flow of illegal firearms entering Ontario.
Collecting and sharing of information is vital to address public safety risks posed by guns and gangs in Ontario. The Guns and Gangs Enforcement Strategy includes developing a Joint Analytical Working Group consisting of personnel from participating law enforcement agencies and the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario (CISO) who will prioritize the gathering, analyzing and sharing of intelligence relating to gun and gang criminality and violence.
The OPP and its partners are dedicated to protecting the safety and security of our communities. Our commitment to the Guns and Gangs JFO and enhancements to PWEU and BEST will allow us to work in a multi-jurisdictional environment to collaborate and to better understand the guns and gangs landscape in Ontario.
Community members are often the best resource for investigations. If you have any information or concerns regarding illegal firearms or gang activity in your community, call your police of jurisdiction or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 on submit a tip online.
DID YOU KNOW
Criminal activities perpetrated by gangs – and the ensuing violence and victimization – continue to impact Ontario communities, urban and rural. Gang-related crimes are on the rise as is the presence and use of illegal firearms to commit serious offences causing injury and death to participants and innocent bystanders. During 2021, the OPP alone seized 879 firearms from the communities it serves.
Illicit drugs continue to be the primary commodity through which gangs generate profit by dominating street-level sales. In an effort to maintain public safety and have an impact on public health, the OPP is aggressively investigating drug trafficking and any resulting deaths, focusing on the trafficker.