July 20th, 2024

Hate crimes, protests, police costs surge since Middle East war: Vancouver police

By The Canadian Press on January 16, 2024.

Vancouver Police say the Israel-Hamas war has fuelled hate crimes in the city and sparked far more protests than usual, with policing for the events costing millions.

Police say they investigated 265 reports of hate crimes in 2023, a 31-per-cent jump from the previous year, including those related to South Asian, LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities.

Figures released by the department show reports of antisemitism rose 62 per cent last year, with 33 out of the 47 incidents in 2023 happening after Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel.

Police say they’ve investigated 50 criminal offences connected to the Israel-Hamas war, including assaults against officers and obstructing police.

Insp. Jeff Neuman says the protests often draw large groups of people with opposing views and create significant volatility because of the emotions involved.

Since the war started, the department says it has spent $2.5 million in overtime costs alone for a total of $4 million for the entire year.

Neuman says the police budget was increased to $2 million last year to cover protests, but that was quickly surpassed after the war began.

“The money will eventually get pulled from our larger budget, then our executive will have to approach the city manager and they’ll have to try to resolve where they can to find the future funding if this continues at this pace.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2024.

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