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As overtime costs rise to $1.7M, Montreal police chief says patrols in Jewish, Muslim communities will continue

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With the number of hate-motivated incidents rising in Montreal, the chief of police says protection for Jewish and Muslim communities will continue to make them feel safe from violence.

In an interview with CTV News on Tuesday, Chief Fady Dagher confirmed that the police service has spent more than $1.7 million in overtime costs since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Asked if he's willing to continue increased patrols in targeted neighbourhoods, Dagher said, "Yes, we are. No matter the cost."

"I told … the budget committee that there is no way I will let them down, let any community down. I'm here to protect and serve them and that's what we're going to do," he said.

"In six weeks, it cost us $1.7 million as you mentioned, over 60 demonstrations that we covered, and we even have 7,100 cops that were patrolling around all those areas 24/7 and we're not going to stop."

Earlier this month, the city approved the 2024 budget that included $821 million for the Montreal police force (SPVM), an increase of $35 million from the previous year. Part of the funding will go toward hiring 225 police officers.

The latest statistics from Montreal police show that there have been 142 hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes since the war started last month. Of those, 107 targeted Jewish communities and 35 targeted Muslim communities, according to the data.

In one of the latests incidents, police were called Monday morning after an incendiary object was allegedly thrown against the door of a Jewish community centre.

'THAT'S REALLY CONCERNING ME'

Dagher said he has never seen the level of stress there is right now in both communities, pointing to examples of families deciding to not send their kids to school or dressing in a different way to hide their Jewish or Muslim identities.

"That's really concerning me," he said, adding that he said he believes the emotions are still too raw and fresh to begin a dialogue for peace.

"This is why I'm trying to find a way with both communities to try to bring them -- eventually when it's possible -- to talk about peace outside and to the whole community."

Montreal police told CTV News last week that many of the hate crimes reported are still being actively investigated and they could not provide an exact number of arrests made, if any, in each case. Dagher said Tuesday the investigations are "complex."

"For now, we don't have the results that people are expecting and I understand them," he said.

"They want some consequences for what's happening and I'm hoping to be able to give them some results, eventually."

Watch the video above for the full interview with Montreal Police Chief Fady Dagher.

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