March 15, 2019 11:26 am
Updated: March 15, 2019 8:11 pm

Security intensifies across GTA following deadly New Zealand attacks

WATCH ABOVE: Religious groups around the GTA have banded together in solidarity after a shooting at two New Zealand mosques on Friday claimed the lives of 49 people. As Catherine McDonald reports, the terror attack in Pittsburgh is a reminder of other hate-filled crimes.

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Police across the Greater Toronto Area are increasing security at places of worship following a deadly mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand Friday afternoon.

Officers from Toronto police, Peel police, York police and Durham police said increased patrols will be enforced at mosques in their areas.

Toronto police representative Caroline de Kloet told Global News they will have a “heightened” police presence at places of worship, focusing especially on mosques.

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“The Toronto Police Service continuously monitors security issues within the city of Toronto and around the world.  In response, we make the appropriate adjustments to our plans in order to mitigate the potential risks to public safety,” said de Kloet.

On Friday morning, Global News captured a moment between two Toronto police officers, Const. Pais and Const. Kerr, and an Imam at Masjid Toronto, a mosque at 168 Dundas Street West.

“Are you feeling safe?” the officers asked. “Can we do anything to help?”

Both officers are still monitoring the mosque.

In a statement from Peel Regional Chief of Police Chris McCord, he said officers have connected with various mosque leaders and have increased patrols at places of worship.

“Our Equity and Inclusion Bureau and Community Mobilization Teams will be connecting with the various leaders at our local mosques and other places of worship, to check on their well-being and work to resolve any concerns they may have,” said McCord.

York police representative Andy Pattenden said the unit has increased security at all places of worship across the region.

“Officers from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau have been reaching out to our communities religious leaders this morning, who they work very closely with on a regular basis,” said Pattenden.

READ MORE: Police upping presence near all Ottawa mosques after New Zealand shootings

Durham police said they have also added extra patrols at mosques in the area.

“We have been reaching out to Muslim leaders to let them know we are here for them, and that they should not hesitate to report anything suspicious,” a representative said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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