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

Saturday, June 9, 2012 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY

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

Continue reading