Toronto rabbi allegedly kept on hold for hours by police when trying to report multiple attempted break-ins at Jewish community centre
A rabbi has alleged that he was kept on hold for hours by Toronto Police when he was trying to report multiple attempted break-ins at a Jewish community centre.
Rabbi Shmuel Neft, the Director of the Jewish Russian Community Centre (JRCC) in North Toronto, has claimed that on several recent occasions, video surveillance showed that an individual attempted to break into the centre. The suspect apparently managed to damage the building but was not successful in accessing it.
On a recent radio show, Rabbi Neft explained the series of events:
“So when we finally got a hold of the security footage that showed the incident, which was, by the way, the third of a series of incidents. Second break-in, but a third incident was involved with the same individual…So I found the footage. I was ready to hand it over to the police, and I called as soon as we were able to download it, I called 32 Division to the non-emergency hotline.
“And yes, like you said, I stayed on hold for just about two hours. I managed to pray in the afternoon services and evening services, as well as go out to dinner with a community member, all while on hold with the Toronto Police Service.”
He added: “The truth is that I never really reached them in a direct way… I pretty much gave up on the phone call and drove to 32 Division, which is not so far away, on Yonge Street, thinking that I would be able to get their attention in person. And I was basically told that the system that they have is that non-emergency reports go exclusively through the phone line, the hotline.
“I said, ‘you know, I was on hold for two hours.’
“‘Yeah, we know, you might be on hold for two hours, three hours, four hours.’
“‘So why is that?’ They said, ‘Well frankly we’re understaffed right now’ — which is mind blowing.”
“And so basically, yeah, 10:30 at night he said, ‘Get back on the phone, wait until they answer, and then you’ll be able to report the crime.’ And, that’s when I decided I’m going to take other measures in trying to get the attention of the police department.”
Rabbi Neft then observed: “By the way, I have to make mention that after all the noise we made, 32 Division was on the job, on ball. The detectives calling me almost daily updating me. I called, I have the lead detective’s personal cell phone number. We were in touch about things throughout the week… so they’ve been on the ball ever since we made a lot of noise.
“But like you said…we don’t take these things lightly… this is not just a community centre, it happens to be a synagogue. This is this is the heart of the local Jewish community.”
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