Police are increasing their visibility in the Greater Toronto Area in light of violence unfolding in Israel and Gaza and an increase in local hate-related incidents.
York Regional Police said they have set up a second command post at Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan after hearing from Jewish and Muslim community leaders who asked for a greater police presence and accessibility in their communities. The additional command post will help to address security concerns, police said.
“What we need to do as the police is try to reassure the community that we’re here, that we’re doing what needs to be done to the best of our ability to ensure that everyone stays safe and that our community is well maintained,” said Sgt. Clint Whitney.
“Most recent analysis of our statistics shows that there is a 15 per cent increase in the number of hate crime or hate-bias incidents taking place in our region compared to the same time last year,” he said.
The existing command post will remain at Promenade Mall in Thornhill. Both command posts will be staffed from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. The second command post at Wonderland will be available until Wednesday night — before moving to the Armadale Community Centre in Markham on Thursday and Friday and then spending the weekend at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill.
Police say the mobility of the second command post allows them to ensure that different parts of York Region feel that sense of security.
“Everyone is feeling scared. Everyone is feeling a sense of heightened tension and it’s normal to feel that way when things like this take place,” Whitney said.
York Regional Police said they are continuing to work with other police agencies — municipal, provincial and federal — to monitor the situation, but maintain there is no credible local threat at this time.
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