Should I report online threats to the police?

While it may be useful in some cases for law enforcement to know about and/or follow-up on any serious threats made against you, calling the police is not always a safe option.

Journalist Brandi Morin traces the roots of anti-Indigenous racism in Canadian law enforcement “that widely plays out today“ in her June 2020 column for the Toronto Star.

In November 2019, the Globe and Mail reported that between 2007 and 2017, more than one-third of people shot to death by the RCMP were Indigenous; Indigenous people make up less than five per cent of the Canadian population.

Black Torontonians are 20 times more likely to be shot by police than the city’s white residents according to a study by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Not surprisingly, 80% of the Black population considers anti-Black racism within policing a problem within Canada and something they have experienced in their daily lives, according to a February 2021 report

Two-thirds of Black Americans don’t trust the police to treat them equally, while many LGBT activists consider police an oppressive force.

People with disabilities, Indigenous people, visible minorities, and young people all have less confidence in the police than able-bodied people, white people, and seniors (Statistics Canada, November 2020).

If you do not feel safe contacting the police, consider asking someone you trust to do this for you. Another option is finding one of the many community-based organizations that are willing to liaise with the police on behalf of others.

For example, Don’t Call the Police, an online directory of community-based alternatives to police, now has a page of options for residents of Toronto and London. They’re updating regularly, so check to see if there are resources listed for your city.

Learn more about online abuse and how to protect yourself online here.