Gun violence in the GTA is on the rise–and that includes Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville, where Sheridan campuses are located. On any given day, there is a violent gun incident occurring in one of these cities. Recently, in Brampton, a man was shot dead near an elementary school. In Mississauga one person was killed and two were critically injured in a shooting near the the 401 highway ramp. Closer to Trafalgar campus, an Oakville youth was questioned regarding a loaded gun.
Chief of Peel Regional Police Nishan Duriappah, while attending a Sikh religious festival, said that this is a big issue and they are working to find the people responsible so that justice can be provided to the victims.
There are many reasons for the rise in crime, says Terry Kostiw, a professor in Sheridan’s Criminal Justice Department: “The ease with which handguns could be obtained is one of the factors. Most guns used in the acts of violence here find their way to Canada from the South of the border.”
Waleed Raza is a security officer who has worked in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville. He said,”It is astonishing to see youth getting involved in gun violence. Looking further I came to know that most youth involved in gun violence are in actual[actuality] the victim of previous gun violence.”
Chief Duriappah also stated that Peel police are becoming more vocal and are in conversation with other GTA police chiefs so that gun violence can be reduced.
When asked about possible solutions, Kostiw said, “I think we need to look at a more balanced and comprehensive approach when it comes to rising inequality, poverty, substance abuse and mental health issues in our communities, homelessness and educational opportunities.”
Raza suggested “proactive educational, economic, housing and social policies and subsequent programs need to be in place for youth.”
Ashley Goodwin, a Security coordinator at Sheridan college, says the government is investing $16.4 million to fight gun crime and gang activities over the next two years in initiatives that boost local crime prevention, enforcement and prosecution.