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February 5, 2009
City of Toronto invests in youth anti-gang strategy
  
Backgrounder: http://www.toronto.ca/pdf/media_release/youth_gang_prevention_2009.pdf

The City of Toronto is investing nearly $5 million in a pilot project aimed at helping youth in three neighbourhoods break the cycle of gang violence - the largest youth gang diversion initiative the City has undertaken to date.

The City’s Community Safety Secretariat will implement the Toronto Youth Gang Prevention Pilot Project in the Jamestown-Rexdale, Jane-Finch, and Weston-Mount Dennis communities as part of ongoing efforts to make Toronto an even safer city. The City designed the pilot project in consultation with the Toronto Police Service, the Guns and Gangs task force, community stakeholders and Dr. Scot Wortley of the University of Toronto’s Centre of Criminology. The modelling identified these three communities as having the greatest need for this pilot. Details of the pilot will be presented to the Community Development and Recreation Committee at its February 6 meeting.

"The City has been working to break the cycle of gang violence in at-risk neighbourhoods and with new resources we're now better able to make that happen," said Councillor Janet Davis, Chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee (Ward 31, Beaches-East York). "The Youth Gang Prevention Pilot Project is a vital investment in ensuring we provide all young people with positive alternatives and opportunities that give hope for the future."

The Toronto Youth Gang Prevention Pilot Project is funded through a three-and-a-half year investment from the Government of Canada’s Youth Gang Prevention Fund. The fund supports projects that contribute to preventing and reducing crime and increasing knowledge of successful crime prevention programs, and it places a priority on addressing early risk factors among vulnerable children and youth and preventing youth gang crime.

Building on the work of the City’s Community Safety Plan, the City in 2007 undertook the “Making A Safe City Safer” mandate, which emphasizes a youth strategy focused on anti-violence intervention, public interest partnerships for youth employment and expanding training apprenticeships and educational opportunities for young people.

The pilot project is evaluation-driven and will incorporate learnings and best practices from other gang prevention projects and jurisdictions.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Councillor Janet Davis, Chair, Community Development and Recreation Committee, 416-392-4035, jdavis1@toronto.ca
Lydia Fitchko, Director, Social Policy, Analysis and Research, 416-392-8614, lfitchko@toronto.ca
Dr. Scot Wortley, Associate Professor, University of Toronto Centre of Criminology 416-978-7124 ext. 228, scot.wortley@utoronto.ca


 

 

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