NEWS

Chief Blair to Danzig Street: 'We are here to protect you'

09/13/2012 09:27 EDT | Updated 11/13/2012 05:12 EST
Toronto police Chief Bill Blair appeared at a town hall meeting on Danzig Street Thursday with a message for the people who live there: the street gang members who participated in a deadly summer shootout are going to get caught and they will not be allowed to antagonize residents.

"We are here to protect you," Blair said. "This street was a victim of a terrible crime. This is a street full of decent people, honest people."

The city’s police chief held an open town hall style meeting with residents outdoors at the site of the shooting. He took questions for nearly an hour, and heard numerous concerns about safety and policing in the neighbourhood.

Police have maintained a heavy presence in the community since the deadly violence of July 16, when two young people were shot dead and 23 others were wounded on Danzig Street.

More than 100 people were attending an outdoor party when the shooting started.

Police recently revealed that they believe the notorious Galloway Boys street gang is tied to the deadly violence on Danzig Street, as well as a separate homicide late last year and a half-dozen other shootings.

At Thursday's town hall meeting, residents questioned Blair about everything from security cameras and fences in the area, to the lack of job opportunities for local young people.

"How do you make people feel safe when the perpetrators are still on the street?" asked one resident. Another expressed anger at what he called police harassment, claiming he'd been issued a tresspassing ticket on his way to the meeting.

Blair called for calm and encouraged members of the community to come forward with information about the Danzig shooting and other crimes.

"We know the greatest impediment to coming forward is fear," he said.

Blair said he hopes Thursday's meeting will help improve relations between police and residents of the area as they try to catch those responsible for the July 16 shooting.

"I'm hoping it's going to be the beginning of a longer and larger dialogue between the people of this community and the police officers that are here to protect them."

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