For some, walking alone in Toronto at night has become an unnerving experience. (Sarah Mariotti/Ryersonian)

Torontonians woke up on Nov. 4 a little more rested than usual as the clocks went back, adding an extra hour to the day. This meant that daylight time would be over, and navigating the streets of Toronto alone would become slightly more difficult and risky.

Ryerson is a commuter school and its students are often walking from place to place, whether it’s from transit to class, school to work or just walking home after a meal with friends. There is always a risk when walking outside alone, especially with the rise of crime in Toronto. But walking alone at night is much more intimidating.

This week, Toronto saw its 91st homicide of 2018, making this the deadliest year on record for the city. As the street lights start to go on at 5 p.m. and the darkness creeps in earlier than usual, walking alone in Toronto can become an unnerving experience.

“Walking alone in the dark anywhere as a woman has always been a bit frightening to me,” Rachel Pavan, a fourth-year social work student at Ryerson, said. “It’s even worse in Toronto. I live downtown and when I have later classes, I always make sure I call my parents or my friends while I’m walking home.”

Why should Torontonians feel scared to walk alone in their own city? Canada prides itself on being a free country that welcomes all and provides a safe place to live. Yet, many Torontonians do not feel safe. It’s time for the City of Toronto and Mayor John Tory to start seriously thinking about the extreme rise in violent crime that has been occurring.

Just this year, Toronto city council voted in favour of asking higher levels of government to ban sales of guns and ammunition. If that were to be done, it would be a step in the right direction towards ending or lowering violent crimes in Toronto. But still, there are many other things that need to be done to maintain a safer city.

The City of Toronto claims it will spend $25 million over the next four years in an attempt to end gun and gang violence. But is it time to stop throwing money at the situation and make physical moves? It’s important to invest in programs that are actually going to work, but it seems that Toronto promises to spend a large sum of money on city problems without an outcome. Banning guns may help gun control and gun-related violence in the future. But many of these attackers are already armed.

Also, many of these violent acts haven’t been gun related at all. According to the Toronto Sun, fatal stabbings are higher than they have been in a decade. It seems that Toronto has been reactive rather than proactive and, unfortunately, 91 lives have been taken because of it.

A reporter at the Ryersonian has been monitoring the university’s security alerts over the past few years. Ryerson security alerts increased 167 per cent from 2015 to 2018. This is a drastic increase that proves more students have encountered situations where they felt their safety was at risk.

Walking alone seems like a normal, basic human right, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, many people in Toronto do not feel like they have this right and walking alone, especially at night time, has turned from a right to a risk.  

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. Ryersonian.ca also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.

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