Toronto’s Jewish community targeted by the most by hate crimes

Hate Crime Pic

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Last year 31 hate crimes were committed against the Jewish community, down only slightly from a five-year high of 44 in 2014. Most of these took the form of property damage and happened in 32 Division, a police patrol area bounded by Steeles and Lawrence Avenues to the north and south, and Bayview Avenue and Keele Street (roughly) to the east and west.

There were 19 hate crimes reported in this division, which includes the neighbourhoods of Willowdale, Newtonbrook and Bathurst Manor, and more than half were against the Jewish community. Two involved criminal harassment; one, threatening bodily harm; and seven, mischief to property.

More generally hate crimes fall into three categories: race, religion and sexual orientation. Since 2006 the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) and Black communities have been the next most targeted groups, but in recent years the Muslim community has increasingly seen the level of violence directed towards them escalate.

From 2013 to 2015 the number of hate/bias crimes committed against this minority group rose from 11 to 26 – the sharpest increase within a five-year time frame.

The prevalence of hate crimes and their targets can be shaped by international events according to the Toronto Police Service – Hate Crime Unit Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report.

2015 Annual Hate Bias Crime Statistical Report

The report reveals that “negative backlash following the attacks in Paris and the Canadian government’s refugee resettlement plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees” may have been responsible for the sharp spike in hate crimes targeting Muslims.

The city of Toronto is planning to launch an anti-rumours campaign to fight the negative stereotypes they believe are fuelling such discrimination and bias.

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(Click here for interactive graph)

Not all minority groups are victimized in the same manner. The Muslim community was most likely to be targeted by criminal harassment whereas members of the LGTBQ community were most often the victims of assault.

Hate crimes have been rising steadily against the LGBTQ community since 2012. Toronto Police Services data indicates there were 29 in 2015, up from 19 in 2012. Those crimes targeting the Black community have been decreasing only slightly during that same period, from 26 to 20.

Overall this type of violence has been falling in Toronto. In 2015 there were 134 hate crimes reported to police – an eight per cent decrease from the year before. 19 people were arrested.

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