Antisemitic incidents are up 211 per cent since the Israel-Hamas war began over two months ago compared to the same time period last year, Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw said Tuesday.
Demkiw rattled off new statistics about hate crime related offences in the city at the force’s monthly board meeting, where he said antisemitism makes up 53 per cent of all reported hate crimes since Oct. 7.
“That’s 56 of 105 total occurrences,” he said.
“In terms of all hate crimes reported this year, antisemitism makes up almost 41 per cent of all these occurrences. That’s 147 of 360.”
There have been 37 reported hate crimes related to Arab, Muslim and Palestinian communities, the chief said, up from 14 during the same time period last year.
Demkiw also noted a rise in hate directed at the city’s LGBTQ2S+ community, saying 11 hate crimes were reported since Oct. 7, a rise of eight from the same time period the year before.
He said the Toronto Police Service’s Hate Crime Unit has made 43 arrests and laid 96 charges related to hate crime occurrences since the war began.
Online tool for reporting graffiti
The latest figures also show an increase in hate related graffiti.
In November, police launched a graffiti intake form on its website. Since then, it has received 129 online submissions, eight of which were confirmed as hate crimes.
The majority of graffiti reported targeted toward Jewish and Palestinian communities, Demkiw told the board.
There have been 159 hate crime graffiti occurrences reported since Oct. 7, including 27 anti-Palestinian occurrences and 111 antisemitic occurrences, police said Tuesday in a news release.
Visible presence throughout the city
Demkiw said the service remains committed to having a presence in communities impacted by hate. He told the board that police visibility is likely playing a role in deterring more crimes from being committed.
“It is almost impossible to measure what you prevent,” he said.
“We know that communities feel safer for our efforts. In instances where, despite our best efforts, crimes have been committed, our dedicated teams of highly trained investigators have worked tirelessly to bring those responsible to justice.”
Earlier this fall, Toronto police stepped up patrols, adding command posts to several parts of the city to keep communities safe from hate. The chief says these will continue for the time being, saying that outreach initiatives are making it easier for communities to access police to “report incidents of concern.”
“As a result of continued collaboration with members of the community, the Toronto Police Service has determined we must deploy a command post to Friday night prayer services to mosques around the city on a rotational basis,” he said.
Demkiw last provided an update on Toronto’s hate crime statistics on Nov. 23, when he called the rise in tensions “staggering” and said that it is taking a toll on police resources.