The Toronto Police Service just presented its annual hate crime report.
Here are three things you need to know:
- Hate crimes in general went up 28% in 2017. The number of hate crimes (186) was the highest it has been in 15 years.
- Hate crimes against the Jewish community increased by 23% (from 43 to 53 crimes).
- The Jewish community remained the most frequently targeted minority. Jews are 3.8% of the population of Toronto but victims of 28% of all hate crimes in the city.
It is appalling that, in a city as welcoming and diverse as Toronto, an antisemitic crime took place on average once a week in 2017. Police deserve credit for shining a light on these disturbing trends and for working to keep us and all Toronto residents safe.
Like many in our community, my family came to Canada fleeing antisemitic persecution – and I am a grandparent of young children. Our community knows all too well that behind every statistic, there is a person and a family who has felt the impact of antisemitism. In the wake of today’s report, we must continue to be assertive and strategic in combating hate. I encourage you to consider:
- Getting involved in our campaign to increase government funding for crucial security measures at community institutions, like synagogues and day schools.
- Finding out how CIJA can help your community institution – be it a synagogue, day school, or JCC – improve its security systems and procedures. CIJA offers these services free-of-charge.
- Joining us in the fight against antisemitism. Connect with us online and, if you are able to, volunteer with us by contacting Rachel. We will be launching a number of strategic projects to counter antisemitism in the coming months – and we invite you to be a part of the effort.
For the Jewish people, the battle against hate is not new. Our community has exceptional resources, expertise, and resilience to respond to these challenges, in partnership with law enforcement. Today’s report was yet another alarming reminder that, while Toronto is a safe and welcoming city, there is still much work to be done. I urge you to join me in taking action.
Barbara Bank, Chair