Feds give Ontario police $121 million to combat car theft

Jan 31, 2024 | Canadian News, Headlines

Premier Doug Ford attended a press conference today where it was announced that the federal government would be giving $121 million to the police in Ontario.

The money will mostly go towards initiatives to preventing gang violence, assisting in undercover work, and working with international police and the RCMP, according to Jim MacSween, Chief of York Regional Police.

The announcement was made in the wake of Ontario having a 48 per cent increase in vehicle theft compared to last year, according to the Canadian government.

MacSween said the rise in carjackings is related to gang violence.

“These groups bring unwanted criminal elements into our communities resulting in the rise of violence carjackings across the GTA and beyond, the massive increase to auto theft which we continue to battle every day; in fact Interpol recently named Canada a new hot spot on the global wave of auto theft,” MacSween said.

He also said that the funding will go to other initiatives as well, mostly related to gang violence and gun smuggling from the U.S.

Ford commented on the increasingly violent nature of carjackings recently.

“People shouldn’t have to live in fear of their cars being stolen in the middle of the night or doors being kicked in at their residence,” Ford said, claiming that the money would help put criminals and “thugs” behind bars.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Arif Virani said he has heard similar things across provinces and territories relating to the severity of carjackings.

“Because I’m hearing about this from many many sectors at a federal, provincial [and] territorial conference; this wasn’t just being raised by the Ontario representatives, this was being raised by the Quebec representatives; I’m hearing about this in B.C.; I’m hearing about this from the port of Halifax,” he said.

Virani said this was a national issue that warranted a national response. It’s “terrifying” for people to experience and he urged building a community that is safe.

Ford reiterated his ‘tough on crime’ message that has historically been popular with his base.

“I have a message to all the criminals; we’re coming after you. We’re gonna catch you, and you’re going to jail,” he said.

“Simple as that, we’re gonna keep you in jail as long as we possibly can. I will not spare one resource to make sure we go after these thugs and make sure that they’re going to jail,” he said.

Ford criticized justice of the peaces who he said were letting violent criminals out on bail and said it’s going to take an approach on all levels to stop violent carjacking.

According to the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario’s 2019 report 71 per cent of the 51,000 individuals admitted into jails were accused persons on remand who were awaiting bail or trial. In other words they were legally innocent.

MacSween said there will be greater collaboration between municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

“I’m confident we can solve this problem if we get the right people at the table,” MacSween said.