Our community is fortunate to have the ongoing commitment of the Toronto Police Service. UJA Community Security maintains a close and collaborative relationship with the police to ensure the continuing wellbeing and safety of Jewish Toronto.
With the recent rise in antisemitism, it’s more important than ever that our community have a proper understanding of the police’s role in investigating incidents. We spoke with Inspector Paul Rinkoff of the Toronto Police Service on this topic to share best practices and advice.
UJA Community Security: What types of incidents should community members report to the police?
Inspector Paul Rinkoff: It is important for community members to report all incidents to the police, especially those that are perceived to be threatening, dangerous, or motivated by hate. No incident is too small to report. We encourage the reporting of incidents such as graffiti and vandalism, any verbal abuse or threats, any suspicious behaviour that you or a family member might observe, and any online harassment or threats.
Of course, if the situation is an emergency, or the incident is in-progress, you should first call 9-1-1. When in doubt, report the incident to the police (Toronto Police Non-Emergency Number: 416-808-2222; York Regional Police Non-Emergency Number: 1-866-876-5423). Sometimes an incident may seem insignificant, but you could have critical information for investigators, so please do not hesitate to call and file a report.
Inspector Rinkoff: The answer is yes. When reporting an incident to police, it is critical that the individual who witnessed the incident or the victim of the incident be the actual person who contacts the police. If you or a family member have accessibility issues or a language barrier, the police will facilitate the taking of the report in ways that work for you. UJA Community Security is an important policing partner and community support provider, but the police also need to hear from you directly so that we can conduct a thorough police investigation.
UJA: What questions will I be asked when I call the police?
Inspector Rinkoff: When you call the police to report an incident, we will begin by asking you for your personal details and your version of the events that you witnessed or wish to report. Police officers are trained to deal with the reporting of hate-motivated incidents and crimes and are aware of the impact that acts of antisemitism have on individuals and the community. You will be treated with respect and never told that you made a bad decision by calling the police.
UJA: Is it still important to report if it’s unlikely they’ll catch the perpetrator?
Inspector Rinkoff: It is important for the police to be aware of each and every time an incident or crime occurs in your community regardless of whether a perpetrator is apprehended. The information will assist the police with their investigation. Additionally, reporting incidents and crimes informs statistical reports and allows us to maintain important criminal justice data. It also alerts us to events such as vandalism and graffiti, so we can take immediate steps to have damages repaired and graffiti removed. Remember, if we don’t know about the incident or crime, we can’t take proper action.
UJA: What does the police do when I report a security incident?
Inspector Rinkoff: When you report a security incident, the police will review the report and investigate. Often the report is sent to detectives to analyze evidence, identify any perpetrator(s), and determine if charges should be laid. Detectives have access to additional investigative resources, such as specialized hate crime investigators and forensic units. We will also follow up with you to update you on any investigation and offer you any additional support that you may need.