NEWS

Toronto Homicide Spike 'Unusual' For Overall Low-Violence Year

09/18/2014 05:43 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:00 EDT
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Toronto has seen a spike in violence over the past two weeks with eight homicides over a dozen days, despite the city being on track for a low number of killings this year.

"It's unusual for this year," Toronto Police Homicide Unit Staff Insp. Gregory McLean told CBC News.

Last year, 43 people were slain in the city by mid-September. This year, that number is 37 homicides, eight of which occurred over the past two weeks.

Apartment building shooting

Most recently, a man in his 20s was found dead Wednesday evening in a North York apartment stairwell after an apparent shooting.

Two residents of the apartment building told CBC News they found the incident "unusual."

"I've been here for a while now and nothing of this sort has happened," said a man, who has lived in the building for three years.

A woman, who lives in the building near the Sentinel Road and Finch Avenue West intersection with her young children, said she finds it a "safe" place to raise her family.

The police investigation into the shooting is still in its preliminary stages, said McLean.

4/8 murders solved

However, police have solved four of the most recent eight homicides, he pointed out.

Officers arrested a man on Sunday shortly after a fatal stabbing at the Don Mills Road and Van Horne Avenue area.

Zhebin Cong, 43, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of San Tai Yuan, 56.

McLean said the homicide squad is generally able to solve the city's killings fairly quickly. They had a roughly 75 per cent case clearance rate from 2011-13.

He thinks their success rate may have helped to deter people from committing crimes, citing the year's overall low murder rate.

Medical intervention also plays a key role, he said, explaining that emergency first aid is saving more people now than a decade ago.

"We have to hand it to our emergency responders," he said. "They get to the scenes. They're getting there fast ... And a lot of people are surviving."

As for the recent spike, McLean said "there's no rhyme or reason to it."

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