Montreal will invest an additional $5.5 million in the city's police force in a bid to fight growing gun violence on the island.
Mayor Valérie Plante made the announcement at the Montreal police headquarters alongside SPVM chief Sylvain Caron and executive committee member responsible for public security, Caroline Bourgeois.
The money will go toward adding 42 more officers, 28 for the force's ECLIPSE anti-gang squad and 14 to help in criminal investigations, Caron said, adding that the need is "immediate."
"This reinforcement of additional staff will allow us to improve our interventions on two levels: the active police presence in uniform and the specialized support in criminal investigations," he said.
Plante says the investment is in response to an increase in gun violence tied to organized crime on the island in the past few months.
"The recent increase in gun violence forced us to act quickly and effectively," said Plante. "Since the beginning of the year, we have stepped up our support for the SPVM and will continue in this direction in order to put an end to this violence as quickly as possible."
In February, Montreal created a new police unit, dubbed ELTA, to crack down on firearms trafficking. Since its inception, the squad has carried out 19 searches, made 17 arrests and seized 27 weapons. The SPVM was also able to seize 350 weapons since February.
Still, Plante renewed her call for the federal government to impose stricter gun trafficking measures at the border, blaming the violence on the prevalence and circulation of guns.
"If they can come in the country easily, then it's a vicious cycle," she said.
The announcement comes on the heels of another violent night in the city. Overnight, an 18-year-old was hit by gunfire in Montreal's Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension and transported to hospital in non-life threatening condition.
Hours later, gunshots rang out in the Lachine borough. Police located cartridge cases on the ground as well as bullet holes in a vehicle and a building. No victims or suspects were located.