Racial hate tops list of hate/bias incidents reported to Hamilton police in 2017
A new report from Hamilton police shows more hate and bias incidents were reported last year, but there were fewer hate crimes.
Police investigated 136 hate and bias incidents in 2017, up from 115 the previous year, according to the report, which was released as part of the agenda for Thursday’s Hamilton Police Services Board meeting.
There were five hate crimes committed in Hamilton last year, down from 15 in 2016, including assault, assault with a weapon, threats, sexual assault and mischief (graffiti).
Of the other 131 cases, 126 were classified as hate or bias incidents and five were of unknown motivation.
The report defines a hate crime as any criminal offence in which there is evidence to suggest the act was motivated by bias or prejudice against a person because of factors such as their race, sex or gender, religion or ability. A hate-bias incident, however, is when an act has overtones but cannot be proven to be solely or in part motivated by hate towards the victim.
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Most of the incidents reported to Hamilton police in 2017 related to racial bias, followed by religion and sexual orientation. Of the 67 incidents involving racism, 60 per cent of those targeted were black.
Compared to the previous year, racist incidents against black Hamiltonians are up 25 per cent.
Jewish people were the most commonly targeted religious group, with 24 incidents, followed by the Muslim community at 15. Hate incidents against Muslims are up 50 per cent and 14 per cent for the Jewish community over last year.
In the report, police acknowledge that not all hate and bias-motivated crimes are being reported, but they encourage all victims to come forward.
“The Hamilton Police Service recognizes that hate crime has a devastating impact on victims and communities,” the report stated.
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