Crime Stoppers launches anti-hate crime campaign

Apr 9, 2024 | Headlines, News

Toronto’s Crime Stopper program is launching a new campaign aimed at encouraging people to report hate crimes.

Nick Migliore, one of the directors of Crime Stoppers, says it is directly related to the events following Oct. 7.

“As a result of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, we have seen a significant and very alarming increase in hate crime and, in particular antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes across Toronto,” he said.

Last month, Police Chief Myron Demkiw reported to the Police Services Board hate crimes have risen by 93 per cent compared to last year.

Robert Johson, Toronto’s Deputy Chief said last month Toronto police dealt with their highest number of antisemitic occurrences in three years.

“The second highest category this year is that of the LGBTQI+ hate crimes, followed by anti-black, these categories are followed by anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate crimes,” he said.

Johnson said it was important to highlight how underreported hate crimes are and said the Islamaphobic reporting isn’t reflective of what the communities are saying.

“Given our statistics, I’m concerned about the substantial underreporting in this area. We have had five reports this year, which is not at all reflective of what we’re hearing in conversation with members of our Muslim communities,” Johnson said.

Katherine Stevenson, Superintendent of Intelligence Services said there could be many reasons why hate crimes are being under-reported.

“A lack of understanding of what constitutes a hate crime, feelings of shame, the fear of retribution, and the uncertainty about our justice system, this is why we will continue to build trust by working alongside our community partners to break down barriers and to develop relationships,” she said.

Crime Stopper’s Sean Sportun said the new campaign will consist of various advertisements and public service announcements to create awareness.

“The campaign will have a selection of social media ads shown here today and radio public service announcements, the focus of this initiative is straightforward: create awareness in the community on this issue and most importantly, remind our citizens they have a conduit to relay anonymous information into Crimestoppers,” he said.

Sportun says that the people of Toronto should feel safe in their communities and be free to walk without fear.