Jews most targeted group in Toronto hate crimes, police say

Community subjected to vandalism more than any other group, study shows, amid slight uptick in hate crimes across region in 2016

Anti-Semitic notes left on Toronto doorways, February 19, 2017. (Screen capture: CTV News)
Anti-Semitic notes left on Toronto doorways, February 19, 2017. (Screen capture: CTV News)

Jews in the Toronto area were targeted by hate crimes more than any other group in 2016, according to a recently released police study.

Of 145 reported hate crimes in the region last year, 43 of them targeted Jews, according to the report. The total figure was slightly higher than the 134 hate crimes reported a year earlier and above the 10-year average of 141 hate crimes per year.

The report by the Toronto Police Services is expected to be discussed by city officials at a meeting later this week.

According to the statistics, “the Jewish community was the most victimized group for mischief to property occurrences; the L.G.B.T.Q. community was the most victimized group for assault occurrences; and the Muslim community was the most victimized group for criminal harassment occurrences.”

Some 200,000 Jews live in the Toronto area, making it Canada’s largest Jewish community.

Last month, Toronto police said they would step up patrols in Jewish areas after a series of anti-Semitic messages targeted members of the city’s Jewish community.

Yellow Post-it notes with hand-drawn swastikas and anti-Semitic language were stuck on the doors of a Toronto condominium building with many Jewish residents.

At least one of the notes said “No Jews,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Jewish community centers in Toronto have also been targeted as part of the wave of bomb threats to menace Jewish institutions across the US.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in Toronto,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement issued after the anti-SEmitic messages were found. “Our Jewish residents should not have to face hatred on their doorsteps. These acts, and the people who carry them out, do not represent Toronto or Torontonians.”

In a news conference, Sgt. Lawrence Sager of Toronto’s police said that they are “confident that whoever is responsible for this crime will be brought to justice.”

“We take this sort of criminal activity very seriously,” he said. “We recognize that these types of crimes have far-reaching repercussions. Toronto police enjoy a very, very close relationship with our Jewish community, and will support them in any way possible to ensure that they feel safe within their community.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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