Toronto Police officers are reaching out to the community to recognize and report hate crime.
Officers from 43 Division recently began community outreach with a video on the importance of addressing hate crimes.
“We want the community to feel empowered to stand up to hate crime and if they see something, to say something,” said Inspector Roger Caracciolo.
The second part of the campaign incorporates education and awareness with school-aged children.
On December 12, Caracciolo and Constable Leanna Gill spoke with Grade 5 and 6 students at Woburn Junior Public School as part of the Division’s Hate Crime Awareness Campaign.
“We know that when we start with the young children, that’s best for intervention and prevention,” said Caracciolo. “By providing education about what hate crime is, how to report it, how to speak about it and just not ignore it, we get that conversation going with everybody.”
Through the presentations, Gill said the aim is to spread the message that hate crime is not welcome in communities and the TPS will assist community members throughout the reporting process.
“When a hate crime occurs, it not only affects the individual, but their families, the victim’s community and society at large,” she added. “These crimes can make an individual feel confused as to when and what to report, isolated and/or cause fear of retaliation. Our Division and Toronto Police Service want to ensure all members of the community are empowered to report the occurrence of a hate-motivated crime to the police.”
Woburn Junior Public School Principal Annie Slater welcomed the TPS officers to speak with students.
“We want our students to connect with police and understand they are an important part of the community and they are here to keep them safe,” she said.
“We also want to educate our kids about hate crime and let them understand the harm it can have on people. It also helps in case they are victims and they have a grasp of what they should do. It is about protecting each other and yourself.”