Toronto City Hall
Toronto City HalliStock

The Toronto Police Service announced at a townhall meeting at a Toronto synagogue that they are increasing efforts to fight antisemitic hate crimes.

The meeting took place on Sunday at Adath Israel Congregation, with Toronto Police Service (TPS) officers and members of parliament in attendance, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

At the meeting, police provided key details on how they are going about expanding the fight against hate crimes targeting the community.

“We recognize that the Jewish community continues to be targeted for hate-related crimes, so this year we’ve decided to add investigators to our hate crime unit. One of them is here,” Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue said.

Toronto has not been immune to the increases in antisemitism occurring across the United States and Canada in recent years.

Recent hate crimes targeting the city’s Jews include instances of antisemitic graffiti; cars being defaced with swastikas; and a series of antisemitic assaults committed by a man who drew a swastika on his chest and yelled “Heil Hitler.”

In September, Toronto launched a campaign focused on fighting antisemitism.

Toronto For All is a “public education initiative to generate dialogue among Toronto residents in order to create a city that says ‘’no’ to all forms of discrimination and racism, including systemic racism.”

The campaign noted on its website that antisemitism has been the most frequently reported hate crime in Toronto for over five years in a row, according to the Toronto Police Service Hate Crime Unit.

Besides the role of the TPS Hate Crime Unit, Staff Sergeant Mike Cosgrove spoke about the TPS neighborhood community program which places offices in communities for four-year terms. The program focuses on general crime, hate crime and forging a relationship with the community.

TPS has also added a Jewish Community Consultative Committee for consultations with the community about security.

Cosgrove added that he attended the UJA Federation’s recent security meeting with Detective Kiran Bisla of the Hate Crime Unit.

“It’s important to keep up with the community at that level,” he said. “If you are seeing something that is alarming and troubling, don’t assume that someone else has reported it. It’s very important for you to connect with us.”