NEWS

2nd Newmarket couple alleges racist graffiti

01/03/2012 06:24 EST | Updated 03/04/2012 05:12 EST

The mayor of Newmarket, Ont., is urging residents to report racially motivated crimes after a second couple alleged their home was targeted by graffiti vandals because they are black.

"I would encourage people if there is a situation, use Crime Stoppers and let the police know that the situation occurs," Mayor Tony Van Bynen said.

"If it's not reported, it can't be dealt with. But I do want to reiterate — these are a small number of incidents."

Reports from the second couple came after Rita Brown and her husband, Seun Oyinsan, found the "N" word carved into the side of their car on Christmas Eve. It was not the first time their home was struck by vandals.

Brown is Caucasian and Oyinsan is black. They moved into their Newmarket home in August, but soon found swastikas and racist language spray-painted on their garage, as well as death threats and nails behind their car tires.

The second couple, who is black, told CBC News they are afraid to give their names and suspect their car was targeted in a series of racially motivated crimes.

Kearie Daniel, a friend of the couple, said she believes her friends have been victimized as part of a disturbing pattern.

Friend writes letter to mayor

Daniel said she was so upset by the attacks that she felt compelled to write a letter to the mayor about her concerns.

"These types of attacks are designed so that they instil fear, and we have to stand up against that," she said, reciting from her letter to Van Bynen.

Daniel said the attacks on Brown and Oyinsan reminded her of her friends, whose car was vandalized with paint on three separate occasions.

"It seemed as if it was kind of systemic or recurring, so of course then your immediate thought is, 'Could this possibly happen to us?'" she said.

Van Bynen acknowledges that his community is growing and changing quickly, and that racially motivated crimes may arise and should be reported.

Although police are investigating both incidents, they say they have no reason to believe the second report is linked to the case involving Brown and Oyinsan.

"There's absolutely no evidence that it has anything to do with race," said Insp. Rick McCabe. "It's damage. But damage occurs in many places. It doesn't mean it's race [related]."

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