Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (Synopsis)

Toronto Police Service

Description: The Toronto Police Service introduced the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) in 2006 to respond to a spike in gun violence in the Toronto area. TAVIS is an intensive community mobilization strategy intended to reduce crime and increase safety in Toronto neighbourhoods. The TAVIS initiative is a multi-pronged approach to solving community problems and is made up of three distinct but complementary branches:

  • Rapid Response Teams (RRT): Four teams of 18 officers each perform high-visibility policing and enforcement in high-crime and high-risk neighbourhoods based on intelligence-led policing information.
  • Neighbourhood TAVIS Initiative (NTI): During the summer months, additional TAVIS officers are assigned to neighbourhoods experiencing heightened levels of violent crime. The officers work in partnership with other agencies and community organizations.
  • Divisional TAVIS Callbacks: The Toronto Police Service’s 17 divisions have the ability to call back off-duty officers to perform high-visibility policing when an escalation in violence occurs.
Objective: TAVIS aims to reduce violence and victimization from violent crime, increase community safety and improve quality of life in high-risk communities. The initiative seeks to reduce the number of offenders engaged in violent crime and reduce opportunities to commit crime in neighbourhoods identified as being at risk. TAVIS also seeks to increase community capacity to work independently of the police to reduce crime and improve community safety.
Outcomes: The TAVIS strategy, now in its sixth year, has demonstrated the effectiveness of both intelligence-led policing and proactive engagement with communities. The Neighbourhood TAVIS Initiative has had a positive impact on the community’s perception of crime and disorder, and participating neighbourhoods have seen a notable reduction in crime—particularly in the number of shootings and homicides. In 2011, the Rapid Response Team was responsible for over 1,300 arrests, the seizure of 12 illegal handguns and the seizure of over $23,000 in cash obtained as proceeds of crime.

The success of this model led to the creation of the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS), with many municipal police services across Ontario creating strategies similar to TAVIS.
Resources: The TAVIS initiative is funded by an annual provincial grant of $5 million, which the government plans to make permanent. The grant covers the cost of redeploying TAVIS Rapid Response Teams from various units across the service, as well as the cost of overtime and callback for TAVIS officers and support units.
Province: Ontario
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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