Spike in bank and retail robberies in Toronto: police
Published Friday, February 26, 2016 5:03PM EST
The number of retail and bank robberies have risen dramatically in Canada's largest city, Toronto police say.
On Friday, police issued two news releases in connection with separate robberies reported in the city. News releases were also issued for separate incidents on Monday and Thursday.
Recent police data showed that bank robberies in 2016 are up 20 per cent when compared to this time last year. Store robberies are up 31 per cent from last year.
Police also said weapons were used in many of the incidents.
"It's very concerning the amount of firearms we're seeing that are involved in the retail robberies and bank robberies," Toronto Police Staff Insp. Mike Earl said.
Speaking to CTV News Channel on Friday, Earl said it was too early in the year to determine a specific cause for the spike.
He said the largest spike in robberies in Toronto was likely in the 1990s, when there was a simultaneous increase in the use of crack cocaine.
"My concern is that there's more weapons that are being used in these robberies," Earl said.
"It's been a steady increase for up to three years now, and (there's) a lack of apprehension by these criminals that are carrying these guns."
Earl said the city has also seen a steady increase in muggings and street robberies in the last few years.
"The whole criminal mindset has changed. They're feeling very comfortable carrying their wares, and a lot of these robberies aren't planned. They're just spur-of-the-moment robberies."
He said police have been working "non-stop" on robbery investigations, and that many of them have been solved.
"But with the number of robberies that are happening, it's tiring and it's a concern for public safety," Earl said.