By: Surjit Singh Flora
“High-harm” crimes are definitely increasing, according to police.
The violent crime has turned this country into Wild West Canada. People are worried and asking all levels of governments: Have we lost control of our streets and parks?
Yes. Canadian streets and parks are getting ugly, bad and dirty, with auto accidents, careless driving — and the recent shooting of two young girls, five and nine, who were in a playground in a residential area of Scarborough during the day.
Mayor John Tory said that he wants “no stone left unturned” while dealing with this latest shooting.
“I cannot imagine the anguish the family and friends of the two girls are going through. This entire city wants these girls to make a full recovery and this entire city wants justice for them.”
Tory said the city will work with officers to bring “swift justice” to those responsible for this “heinous crime.”
Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford tweeted about the incident: “Heard about the two children shot near McCowan Road and Steeles Avenue,” he wrote. “My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families. I will be monitoring the situation closely.”
Out west, in Surrey, B.C., Jaskaran Bhangal, 17, and Jaskarn Jhutty, 16, were found dead by the side of the road with gunshot wounds.
Thousands of people and grieving families of the two teenage boys have gathered in a rally in Surrey, seeking justice.
The trend of gang violence is very serious. In Surrey six months have passed since 2018, but 22 incidents of gunfire have taken place, already.
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We have seen this kind of violence in England for more than two-and-a-half decades. Now we see it in Vancouver on a regular basis.
In the past few years, such a trend has started to appear here in the Greater Toronto Area.
Gang activity is growing in Brampton.
Paviter Singh Bassi, 21, was beaten to death with sticks at Sandalwood Heights Secondary School according to police.
Economic, social and cultural aspects contribute to the problem. Many immigrants come to new countries between the ages of 12 to 14. Others are born in Canada and some belong to the rich families.
They are not related to each other, but often jealousy and ego cause friction.
Some of them work and study hard to make their lives successful. Others lack knowledge and funds, get stressed out, and end up meeting with wrong groups, such as gangsters and drug dealers and begin drinking. Then there’s shootings.
Later, they become the biggest headache, not only for the community but also for the country.
Governments and communities need to work together to solve the problem. One truth about Surrey is that there are only 800 police officers for population 517,887, while there are more than 1,500 officers in this city with a population of more than 300,000.
In March, Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale presented the bill 71 in Parliament to make changes to the gun laws. There was no mention about street violence and gangs.
First of all, to get rid of any problem, you have to first accept it. Accepting the problem for the federal, provincial, and local governments will be a step toward solving the problem.
At the same time, the Punjabi community needs to work together to support the police and governments to control these kinds of shootings, stabbings and stick fights on our streets and in our parks and plazas.
Before any other Jaskaran or Jaskarn or other of our kids get shot in a parking lot and end up losing their lives.
Brampton-based Surjit Singh Flora is a veteran journalist and freelance writer.