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Monday, September 15, 2014

Violence in Toronto - it's personal

All in all, Toronto is a very safe city. I can't really say that there are neighborhoods that I avoid or fear to be in at any hour of the day. In my three years here, "random" acts of violence seem to be very rare.

There is a particular form of violence that was new to me, however. Stabbings. Because of two conditions, it seems stabbings happen almost as frequently as shootings. I think the two reasons are: Gun control in Canada is pretty rigorous and violence is personal.

It's hard to get a gun in Canada in general. Handguns in particular (the favourite guns of the U.S.) are hard to come by legally, which makes them extremely expensive illegally. There aren't many around, so they aren't the weapon of choice. As I noted before, violence is less random here, and more about one person's direct conflict with another. It's personal. And stabbing someone is a very personal act. You can't stab someone from 20-yards; you have to get right up on them to accomplish it.

So while you do hear about shootings here, there really aren't many (and for the population in city of around 2.1 million, there are only around 140-170 incidents each year, 20 of which resulting in death). The total number of stabbings in Toronto each year isn't publicly noted, but deaths from stabbings take 40-60% of the same number of lives as shootings when all is said and done.

So Canada has its share of violence. And in general, it's personal. While no violence is something I'm sure we'd all be happier with, knowing that the random violence of the U.S. just isn't prevalent here does make this country a safer one to live in, and another reason I am thankful to live in Canada.    

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