A new report from the Toronto Police Service (TPS) shows that hate crimes in the city jumped by 51% from 2019 to 2020.
The service’s Annual Hate Crime Statistical Report shows an “unprecedented increase” in hate crime reporting in Toronto, spurred in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to police, 139 hate crimes were reported to the service in 2019, while 210 were reported in 2020.
The report, released on April 22, uses data based on hate crimes reported to TPS between January 1 and December 31, 2020.
A total of 15 Anti-Asian and anti-Chinese hate crimes were reported in Toronto in 2020, while three incidents were reported in 2019.
Reports of anti-Black hate crimes jumped from 13 in 2019 to 43 in 2020, and hate crimes committed online rose from eight to 21 in the same timeframe.
The most frequently victimized group in 2020 was the Jewish community, TPS said, followed by the Black community, the LGBTQ2S+ community, and the Asian and Chinese communities.
Mischief to property, assault, and criminal harassment were the most commonly reported hate-motivated criminal offences.
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“Hate crimes not only victimize an individual, but also the entire group they identify with,” said James Ramer, the Chief of Police.
“We know this can have a long-lasting impact on the diverse communities we serve, resulting in increased isolation, stress, and vulnerability.”
Police acknowledged that hate crimes are often unreported and encouraged people to report any incidents of hate, prejudice, and bias that they experience.
Officers have taken part in various initiatives, including training, education, and community outreach, in an effort to address the gap in reporting, TPS said.
“We remain committed to working collaboratively within our service and with our community partners, in a transparent and inclusive way, to build trust and encourage the reporting of hate crimes,” Ramer said.
“I want to make it clear. One hate crime is one too many.”