Toronto’s gangs smaller, looser – but packing more heat

Saturday, June 9, 2012 – Globe and Mail

Toronto’s organized crime is anything but.

The city’s gangs are smaller, their members more loosely organized than they were 20 years ago.

They’re also more lethal: The number of homicides classified as “gang-related” has risen since the 1990s. Last Saturday’s shooting at the Eaton Centre – while officially not gang-related in Toronto police lexicon – thrust into the limelight the sort of violence normally hidden in the city’s most blighted neighbourhoods.

The changes are driven by a combination of successful police crackdowns and deeper despair in the city’s poorest, increasingly isolated areas.

Interactive: Homicides, social housing and street crime in Toronto neighbourhoods

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