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Jews the most targeted group for hate crimes in Toronto

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Jews remained the single most targeted victim group when it comes to hate crimes in Toronto, experiencing 50 instances of hate-motivated crimes in 2018, according to the Toronto Police Service 2018 Annual Hate Crime Statistical Report.

No other religious, ethnic or racial community came close, with Muslims, the second most targeted group, reporting 18 incidents, followed by blacks with 16 and LGBTQ with 13.

“The Jewish community makes up 3.8 per cent of the religious population in the city of Toronto, but was victimized in approximately 36 per cent of the total hate crimes,” the Toronto police reported.

In 2017, Jews were the victims of such crimes on 53 occasions, or 29 per cent of all cases.

While the number of incidents involving Jews held constant, more or less, overall, the total number of hate crimes in Toronto dropped by 26 per cent in 2018, compared to the year before.

Altogether, 137 instances were reported in 2018, down from 186 in the previous year.

While hate crimes statistics fluctuate year to year – 2017 was a bit of an outlier, with at least 40 more instances reported that year than in the years before and after – Jews have been the single most targeted group in Toronto since at least 2006, according to Toronto police statistics.

The 50 incidents involving Jewish victims in 2018 grows even larger when considering victims that may have been targeted for more than one reason. Of the 21 incidents reported in which the victims could claim more than one identity, nine had some element of Jewishness involved, such as “Christian/Jewish,” or “black/Jewish.”

This included several incidents involving black and LGBTQ Jews. In addition, one Israeli was recorded as a victim by nationality.

READ: FOGEL: COUNTERING THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM

Meanwhile, York Regional Police also released its annual Statistical Report for 2018 and found that the same downward move in hate crimes reported in Toronto was repeated in York Region.

“Reported hate crime occurrences in York Region decreased to 123 incidents, or by 10.2 per cent, in 2018, from 137 incidents in 2017,” the report stated.

Looking at the raw numbers in York Region, Jews were victimized 29 times, the same as blacks. The next most victimized groups were Muslims, along with “east and west Asians,” with eight occurrences involving each group.

In 2017, Jews were victimized 46 times, far more than the next group, Muslims, with 18 occurrences.

Putting the incidences of hate crimes in perspective, the York Regional Police report noted that more than 38,000 crimes were reported in 2018, in a region with a population of nearly 1.2 million. Hate crimes made up only about 0.3 per cent of all crimes.

Toronto, meanwhile, is a city of 2.73 million, in which Jews make up 3.8 per cent of the population. The Toronto Police report indicated that, in terms of hate crimes, Jews were most likely to experience non-violent offences.

“The three most frequently reported criminal offences motivated by hate in 2018 were mischief to property, assault and utter threats. The Jewish community was the most frequently victimized group for mischief to property occurrences and utter threat occurrences. The Muslim community was the most frequently victimized group for assault occurrences,” according to Toronto police.

Altogether, police laid charges in only 39 cases.

In a post on its website, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said, “It is appalling that, in welcoming and diverse communities like Toronto and York Region, an anti-Semitic crime took place on average once a week in 2018. Police deserve credit for shining a light on these disturbing trends and for working to keep us and all Toronto residents safe.

“Our community knows all too well that behind every statistic, there is a person and a family who has felt the impact of anti-Semitism. In the wake of this report, we must continue to be assertive and strategic in combating hate.”

Noah Shack, CIJA’s vice-president for the Greater Toronto Area, added that, “The Jewish community is resilient and, due to rising anti-Semitism around the world, becoming increasingly security-conscious. CIJA – in concert with our Federation stakeholders – is actively exploring additional measures and public policy options to enhance security at Jewish institutions from coast to coast.”

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