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Toronto police increase size of hate crime unit amid rise in reports of hate

The Toronto Police Service says it has increased the size of its hate crime unit since Oct. 7, when the war between Israel and Hamas began. A Toronto Police Service logo patch is shown in Toronto, on Sept. 5, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Toronto police say they have increased the size of their hate crime unit in light of a rise in hate crime reports. 

The force says there has been a noted increase in hate crime reports since Oct. 7, when the Israel-Hamas war began, with the largest increase seen in reports of hate-motivated graffiti. 

Insp. Roger Desrochers says hate-motivated graffiti victimizes communities as long as it's there, and is a priority for police to investigate such cases. 

Toronto police say the hate crime unit has grown from six officers to 20 investigators and eight district special constables.

The force has also launched an online form for the public to report hate-motivated graffiti so that police can investigate and arrange for the graffiti's removal. 

Toronto police Chief Myron Demkiw told a police services board meeting last month that since Oct. 7, there had been 14 hate crime reports – 12 relating to antisemitism and two about anti-Muslim incidents – compared to five during a similar time frame last year.

Police say they will provide an update on hate crime statistics at the next monthly police services board meeting on Nov. 23. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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