The Ontario government has announced a multi-million dollar pledge to combat crime in the province.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at a news conference on Thursday while recalling a recent spike in criminal activity in Ontario, including within the tow truck industry, as well as an increase in domestic violence and shootings.
“It breaks my heart,” Ford said, referring to six shootings that occurred within a 24-hour period in Toronto last month. “It’s wrong, it’s unacceptable and it has to stop.”
“My message to the criminals out there hasn’t changed: We’re coming after you, and we’ll throw the book at you and we’re going to put you behind bars,” he said.
As a result, Ford said that the government will invest $6 million over the course of the next three years to combat various types of crime in the province.
The money, which Ford says was taken from the hands of the “bad guys,” will be made available to 16 police services across the province to implement strategies to combat gun and gang violence, human trafficking and sexual violence and harassment.
The lion’s share of the funding will go to the Waterloo Regional Police Service to develop an anti-human trafficking unit. In 2019, the service reported 90 investigations related to human trafficking and laid 40 criminal charges in connection with those investigations.
The government says that the service will receive $537,460 in order to “detect, investigate, and prevent human trafficking throughout Waterloo Region and the City of Guelph.”
READ MORE: Human trafficking education campaign launched in Waterloo Region
Other funding highlights include $300,000 for the Toronto Police Service to expand its YourChoice.to program, which provides survivors of sexual violence with the resources and tools they need to report instances of abuse.
Another $300,000 will go to York Regional Police to roll out "Project Infantry," an initiative aimed at supporting the work of front-line officers who respond to gun and gang violence.
For the full list of funding recipients, click here.