In a statement on Oct. 12, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw addressed the city’s concerns in light of recent terror attacks in Israel and the ongoing suffering of innocent civilians in the affected regions. He began by acknowledging the profound impact of the conflict on thousands of Toronto residents with family and friends in the affected areas, before adding that there had been “no specific threat to the city of Toronto,” at that point.
However, shortly after the press conference, it was reported that Toronto police arrested three men and launched a hate crime investigation after threats to a Jewish high school in North York.
According to a statement by Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT), three people approached students nearby the school.
At the press conference, Demkiw shared that he had received numerous calls from community leaders, who expressed their concerns and sought assistance. Earlier in the week, Chief Demkiw engaged in discussions with leaders from both Jewish and Palestinian communities to discuss law enforcement’s role in ensuring public safety and supporting residents.
“While I am advised that these communities are grateful and supportive of the work of the Toronto Police Service, this war has shaken their feelings of peace and security, here at home,” he said.
Demkiw added that the Toronto Police Service is committed to taking all necessary measures to help Toronto’s families, businesses, and residents feel safe as they go about their daily lives. To this end, the command and senior leadership of the TPS have directed all divisions to ensure a high-visibility presence of officers throughout the city.
“We want to be present in ensuring our communities not only are safe, but we need them to feel safe,” he said. “We’d like them to feel comfortable to go and express themselves and go to synagogue and go to mosque and go to businesses and attend in their community.”
In response to the recent events, officers have been advised to have their uniforms ready for deployment, and two command posts have been set up to serve local communities, take reports, and provide easily accessible points of contact for police officers.
“The command posts will be at Bathurst and Lawrence and Bathurst and Glencairn,” Demkiw explained. “They will be staffed through operational hours when the community is most frequently in the area.”
Chief Demkiw strongly reiterated the service’s zero-tolerance policy for hateful behaviour.
“Violence and hateful acts will not be tolerated in our city,” he added.
The Hate Crime Unit will aggressively pursue any alleged or suspected incidents of hate crimes or hate-motivated behavior, with no tolerance for any forms of hate and intimidation. He encouraged residents to report any allegations of hate-motivated incidents to the police for investigation, urging them to call 9-1-1 for emergencies and the non-emergency line for incidents without immediate safety concerns.