By Gerald V. Paul
There is a divide on carding between new Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders and the community, according to a Forum Research poll data.
Saunders, who is Black, has taken the position that abolishing carding would increase crime. Some community members had anticipated that due to his ethnic background, he would be against the practice. A veteran member of the force, Saunders is of Jamaican parentage.
In the poll, in reply to whether abolishing carding would “Put us in a situation where there will be an increase of crime” 30% deemed that position credible.
Forty per cent of Torontonians said Saunders’ claim that crime will spike is not credible, while 26% had no opinion.
Just over 50% believe carding is not effective at preventing crime while 25% of respondents think it is effective.
The poll identified a split on the issue of race and policing, including whether Black Torontonians are the target of too much police activity enforcement: 41% said Black people are the focus of too much police activity while 36% do not believe that is the case.
In a random sampling of 822 Toronto voters, 60% opposed carding, the practice of police stopping to question and document members of the public not suspected of a crime.
Carding disproportionately affects young Black men. Twenty-nine per cent of those polled support carding, while 11% have no opinion.
Opposition to carding was highest among young, mid-income groups, people who live downtown, those who voted for Olivia Chow in the last municipal election and amongst South Asian and Black residents.