Graffiti on Thornhill bus shelter, July 23, 2014
Colin D'Mello/CTV News Toronto
York Regional Police are vowing to increase patrols around houses of worship and faith-based community hubs after third incident of hateful graffiti in less than a week.
The latest appeared on a Thornhill bus shelter early Wednesday, down the street from a Hebrew school. A swastika and the words "F*** Israel" were scrawled in white paint inside the glass-walled shelter on Atkinson Ave, near Spring Gate Blvd.
Police believe the damage was done between midnight at 7 am Wednesday. Investigators plan to check out surveillance video from passing busses in the search for clues. Police are also asking anyone who lives nearby with home security video to check their footage.
York Regional Police are not sure if the anti-Semitic attack is related to anti-Muslim messages left outside a Thornhill Islamic centre earlier this week. "Arab go home" and "F*** Gaza" were spray-painted on the sidewalk outside the Jaffari Community Centre Sunday. The Star of David was also drawn on the centre's sign.
On Monday, two swastikas drawn in blue chalk cropped up on the wall of Highview Public School in Aurora.
The rash of what police have flagged as hate crimes may be related to a fresh round of conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
"It is unfortunate that times when issues occur in the rest of the world, we see a rise in things like this locally," says York Regional Police constable Andy Pattenden.
Pattenden says their officers are being filled in on where hate crimes could occur in the area they regularly patrol. He is asking residents of York Region to be "hyper vigilant" too in reporting anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Anyone with information is asked to call York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423 x7241 or to contact Crime Stoppers.