Leave it to Torontoist to quell the anxieties surrounding violence on the streets of our city. In the wake of two more murders in the Greater Toronto Area, Torontoist would like to remind certain police services and right-wing newspapers that text-messaging has had little effect on murder rates. As of this post, homicides are down from 2003. Conversely, text-messaging use is up.
BlackBerry-toting aside, the truth remains that Toronto’s murder rates pale in comparison to most cities in the U.S. and Alberta. In Chicago, the next closest major metropolitan centre, murders are ten times those in Toronto. In Buffalo, the next closest Armpit of America, murder rates are 14.6 per hundred thousand people in 2002, while Toronto’s are 24 per MILLION for the same year. In addition, Toronto has historically clocked in lower than our uniformly heterosexual friends in Calgary and Edmonton.
So perhaps the Toronto Police should be more concerned with gun control rather than these new cell phone features. Though the Liberal government’s Gun Registry program has largely come under fire for inefficiency, there was at least a rational basis for the plan. The only idea underpinning this latest attack on text-messaging is conservative fear mongering, diverting attention from handgun use. Toronto should be free to text-message all they want, in a non-violent manner of course. But with all those text-messages, just remember to think before hitting the panic button.