Halifax woman receives note about 'rape gangs' coming to her neighbourhood
Halifax resident Laura Valadka says she was stopped by a stranger on Sunday night and given a troubling note just outside her downtown apartment building.
“(He) tapped me on the shoulder, handed me a piece of paper and said 'this is for you.' I opened it and it said some truly vile things in there,” Laura Valadka told CTV Atlantic.
“Rape gangs - coming to a neighbourhood near you,” the note states. Upset, she hurried inside her building and called police.
Halifax Regional Police said the incident was concerning and that they’re sifting through nearby security camera footage to identify the man.
“Distributing information itself isn't a crime, depending on the information, including the materials and the intention of it,” said Const. John MacLeod. “However, given the earliness of the investigation, we will need to speak with this individual to make any further determination.”
The note suggested a search for the phrase “rape gangs” on the website Gatestone Institute. Searching for variations of the phrase yielded more than 800 results on the website.
The website posts mainstream news stories and content that some may consider extreme. Some of those articles are critical of immigration, particularly from Muslim-majority countries.
After spending time on the site, Valadka became upset that the note seemed to be blaming immigrants for rape.
“Now, I'm just angry that someone would even think to spread that kind of hate message around and scare people like that,” she said.
CTV Atlantic reached out to Gatestone Institute for comment, but didn’t receive any response.
Halifax Partnership, an economic development organization which works with immigrants, says the city welcomed almost 4,500 immigrants last year.
The majority of people came from the Philippines, China, Syria, India, the U.K., and the United States.
Halifax police say they’re also looking for any help from the public.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.