| 28 February 2024, Wednesday |

Toronto police say hate crimes spiked since start of Gaza conflict

Since the beginning of the Gaza confrontation between Israel and Hamas on October 7, there has been a marked increase in antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, according to officials on Friday.

According to police chief Myron Demkiw, there were 78 hate crimes registered between October 7 and November 20, 2022, as opposed to 37 during the same period in 2022. He said that since some persons were reluctant to come forward, the actual number was probably greater.

The number of reported antisemitic hate crimes in this period almost trebled to 38 from 13 last year, while those involving the Muslim, Palestinian and Arab population leapt to 17 from just one in 2022.

“The impact of the events in the Middle East on our city are ongoing and have escalated since Oct. 7,” Demkiw told a televised news conference.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas raid into southern Israel and subsequent Israeli retaliation, 25 people have been arrested and 64 charges laid in relation to reported hate incidents.

“(Hate crimes) can traumatize not just victims, but all members of the targeted community and beyond,” said Demkiw. Toronto has temporarily boosted the size of its hate crime unit to 29 from the usual six.

With around three million people living in Toronto, it is by far the biggest city in Canada, which has a population of just over 40 million.

  • Reuters