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Laval police say strategy has reduced gun violence on the island


Political candidates at all levels say fighting gun violence is a major priority in the provincial election campaign. 

Provincial party pledges are coming after a string of recent shootings in the Montreal area, many of them in public spaces.

Laval, north of the Riviere des Prairies from Montreal, says it is making progress.

Recently, a 42-year-old man was shot inside a restaurant and a month prior to that, a drive-by shooting on Cure-Labelle Blvd. killed two people and seriously injured a 14-year-old boy.

Despite those shootings, Laval's police (SPL) Chief Pierre Brochet said their work is paying off. He said shootings are down by half, with 13 shootings reported so far this year compared to 27 in 2021.

"This is a big change, and we are very proud of all the mobilization," said Brochet.

The SPL launched the Paradox 2022 project, which is a coordinated approach to urban violence on the island.

"The concerted and proactive approach we have taken this year has certainly contributed to the positive impacts we are seeing on the ground," said Brochet. "This is not an end in itself, as the phenomenon is volatile, and our work continues. However, it is a source of pride for our service to see that our mobilization is bearing fruit."

Brochet said better tracking and surveillance of repeat offenders have helped reduce gun crimes.

"What we did was identify the violent criminals and really put pressure on them," he said. "Those kinds of guys are doing frauds, they are doing thefts, sometimes gambling, for example, and drugs.

He said firearm-related arrests have increased slightly in Laval with 29 this year compared to 27 by this time in 2021.

While the number of shootings in Laval has gone down, officers have seized more guns with most of them coming from the U.S.

Police services across Quebec want more resources at the border to stop guns from getting into the province.

While Laval appears to be making progress, some criminologists say it's still to early to know if the decline will last.

"Any reduction of shootings or death is encouraging, but over a short period like six of seven months, it doesn't establish a trend," said criminologist Irwin Waller from the University of Ottawa. "You need to see a plan where police are part of the plan, street outreach workers, programs in schools to stop people from reacting in anger."

Laval police say prevention and youth programs are part of the plan and hope their short-term gains to curb gun violence will lead to long-term results. Top Stories

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