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Provincial funding a good start but more needed to fight gun violence: police chief
KITCHENER – The province pledged a $6 million boost to police services across Ontario to help them fight crime. But what does that mean for Waterloo Region?
Waterloo Regional Police Service Chief Bryan Larkin says he's thankful for a step in the right direction, but says the money doesn't amount to much when it's spread out among 51 forces over a three-year period.
"We're very pleased in the direction but my role as the chief is to advocate more," he told CTV on Tuesday.
Each force will have to apply for a grand, called Proceeds of Crime Front Line Policing Grant.
The funding is aimed at helping services tackle gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment and human trafficking.
Larkin says the funds need to be shared evenly based on need.
"My focus has been around equitable distribution, recognizing that the Greater Toronto Area has the largest amount of population," he says.
"It doesn't mean that other communities don't have significant challenges and significant issues."
There's been a spike in violent crime in Waterloo Region, with 17 shootings so far this year. Three of those have been fatal, while 10 remain unsolved.
"They are complex investigations. People aren't forthcoming," Larkin explains.
"It's generally related to a drug subculture with intimidation, violence as well as those involved in criminal activities."
The provincial Conservative government has changed the way it funds policing.
Individual forces have already been applying for grant money—the WRPS was just approved for one—but Larkin says it still leaves about an $800,000 gap when it comes to the budget.