An estimated five homicides were prevented during the summer months after Toronto Police Services decided to put extra officers on the streets, Police Chief Bill Blair said Friday.

In what police called their summer safety initiative, officers were required to work overtime, beginning on July 26 and ending after the September long weekend, in order to free up an additional 329 officers to dispatch to high-priority neighbourhoods.

The move came after two deadly public shootings, one in the Eaton Centre Mall on June 2 and another on Danzig Street in the city’s east end on July 16.

The Danzig Street shooting killed two bystanders and injured 23 others in what is considered the worst public shooting in Toronto’s history.

“I think that the evidence before us today is irrefutable proof of working in partnership with our communities,” said Blair. “I also believe that we have demonstrated that, when we send police officers into some of our most vulnerable neighbourhoods and the work respectfully and, in partnership, with people in those neighbourhoods, we can make a difference.

“I am encouraged by that. And I would hope that the people of this city will be encouraged by what can be achieved when we work together.”

The number of homicides prevented was determined according to historical averages for the same period, Blair said.

The project cost about $2 million, which police were able to find in their existing budget.

The initiative ended on Sept. 9.

With a file from CTV Toronto’s Janice Golding