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Chapter 37

SOCI 1F90 Chapter Notes - Chapter 37: Frame Analysis, Strongarm, Crown Attorney

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Michelle Webber

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SOCI 1F90: Introduction to Sociology
Rethinking Society – Chapter 37
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
Gun Violence in Toronto: Perspectives from the Police by Ifeanyi Ezeonu (pg. 447 – 459)
One of the world’s most racially and culturally diverse cities
One of the lowest crime rates in North America
Since, the mid-1990s, street shootings and gun violence have increased in Toronto and have often been associated
in the media with young Black males
Media organizations, the Toronto Police Service, politicians, community leaders, and other interest groups
have kept the discourse of this problem in the public domain
The police appear to hold the greatest influence in defining the problem and in recommending solutions
The police perspective on crime is generally seen as credible, but consequently, most media discourses on
crime tend to reflect the police perspective
Potentially influences the public discourse
Data Collection
The data derived form:
Public statements by the former Toronto police chief and senior police officers, on the nature of the gun
violence in Toronto
Annual Reports of the Toronto Police Service and the Report of the Toronto Police Service Community
Summit on gun violence in Toronto
Semi-structured interviews with 12 officers of the Toronto Police Service
Data Analysis
Used “frame analysis”
Frames are “fully developed social construction template(s)” that people use to explain or organize their
illustration of social problems
Frames encourage particular ways of understanding a problem or challenging other interpretations
The way a problem is framed determines what factors are blamed and what remedies are recommended
Gun Violence in Toronto: The Police Perspective
The most prominent frame attributed the problem to the proliferation of gangs, illegal gun smuggling, and illicit
drug trafficking
Other factors mentioned included those broadly classified as structural – poverty, unemployment, a social
breakdown, and a faulty (legal) system
These frames were echoed in the police annual reports, official statements, and the narratives of the respondents
Framed as Gang Proliferation, Illegal Gun Smuggling, and Illicit Drug Trafficking Problem
The predominant frame used in the police construction of gun violence in Toronto attributed the problem to the
proliferation of gangs, illegal gun smuggling, and illicit drug trafficking
In the Annual Report 2000, the Toronto Police Service believes that “one of the best ways of reducing violence is
to get guns and gangs off the streets”
The Toronto police launched the Operation Gun Stop in 2002 and created the Gun Task Force aimed at
targeting illegal firearms in the city and the criminals who used them
A gun amnesty was declared by the police chief and crown attorney for the Toronto region to “provide
immunity for firearm possession offences not covered by the earlier federal amnesty”
The frame was also reflected in the official statements of the police chief and some senior police officers of the
Toronto Police Service
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