There have been more shootings in the city of Hamilton already this year, than there were all of last year. Thirty-one in total, two of them this past weekend. Hamilton police Chief Eric Girt says his squad is working on it, without additional officers.
“We’re working with our current compliment, but focusing on those areas where we need to address the issue.”
The shootings have only resulted in one death, that was Angelo Musitano, who was gunned down in his Waterdown driveway in May. Police believe that was a mob hit. The other shootings share a different theme.
“Common threads that are emerging, are drugs, stealing items, or home invasions where the violence occurs, but it’s usually targeted, the people know each other.”
Chief Eric Girt says there’s a direct connection to the opioid crisis here in Hamilton to the increase in gun violence in the city.
“Well there’s obviously money to be made from selling these drugs, I think our concern is you’ve got people willing to distribute deadly drugs.”
There are clearly guns in the hands of criminals, but how did they get there?
“We know that the flow of handguns come up through Michigan, some other states where guns are more prevalent and maybe purchased legally, smuggled in and sold that way.”
The Chief wouldn’t blame the increase in violence on “out-of-towners” directly but did said, whether it’s Toronto, Brampton, Brantford or Niagara Falls, it’s easy to get to Hamilton and if there’s money to be made in the drug trade, criminals will travel here.