Mayor announces strategy to promote a safer Toronto for youth|
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Mayor Mel Lastman and Councillor Brad Duguid, Chair of the Task Force on
Community Safety, today announced a $4.45 million strategy to promote a safer
Toronto for youth. The strategy, which includes a package of new and enhanced
youth programs, will be considered by City Council at its meeting beginning May
21. Council has already approved funding for all the programs included in the
"Toronto is one of the safest cities in the world, but it can become even safer
for our youth and for us all," said Mayor Lastman. "Pulling these programs
together into a single strategy will focus the City's efforts to address youth
crime and violence and help young people who are at risk in higher risk areas
of Toronto. The loss of one young person in this city due to violence is
tragic, painful and our collective responsibility."
The Mayor's Strategy, which balances violence prevention with law
enforcement, comprises five key elements:
- Youth empowerment through skills development
- providing young people with the tools, skills and knowledge they need to
excel in our complex and competitive society;
- Innovative recreation programs that engage young people;
- Community awareness and public education initiatives that promote youth
- Effective policing approaches for prevention and enforcement that support the
Toronto Police Service in targeting high-risk youth and repeat young offenders;
- A holistic approach in leadership in which the City works with other senior
levels of government, community agencies, school boards, the Toronto Police
Service, the Toronto Transit Commission and other
partners to develop and co-ordinate initiatives for a safer city.
"We are making a significant investment in young people and in the safety of
our communities," said Councillor Duguid. "The youth of Toronto are among our
important partners in this initiative. Their help in designing and developing
the strategy was invaluable."
"The Toronto Police Service continues to address youth violence and
victimization of youth as a priority," said Toronto Police Chief Julian
Fantino. "The Mayor's strategy goes a long way to support the work of the
Toronto Police Service. Some of our initiatives include an anti-gang squad, a
youth referral program and a serious teen offender program." In March 2002,
City Council approved $700,000 for the anti-gang squad.
"Toronto's 300,000 youth can view this strategy as a new commitment from the
City to address safety needs within their communities," said Ryan Teschner,
Director of Council Relations, Toronto Youth Cabinet. "These programs
demonstrate that young people in Toronto have a voice in the decisions that
will affect their lives."
The Mayor's Strategy continues the implementation of recommendations arising
from the 1999 Task Force on Community Safety and includes many of the programs
recommended in the 2002 Action Plan of the Toronto Youth Cabinet (TYC). The TYC
is a group of young people from across the city that advises City Council and
the Youth Advocate, and advocates on behalf of Toronto youth.
Councillors who provided assistance to Mayor Lastman and Councillor Duguid in
developing the strategy include: Suzan Hall, Chair of the Youth Gang Work
Group; Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, Chair of the Youth Safety Sub-Committee; Olivia
Chow, Children and Youth Advocate; Sherene Shaw, Diversity Advocate; together
with Toronto Police Services Deputy Chief Steve Reesor.
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