The past year saw a surge in the number of hate-motivated incidents reported to the Ottawa Police Service, according to newly released statistics.
The OPS said Thursday that hate crime reports were up 57 per cent in 2020, with 182 incidents reported last year compared with 116 cases reported in 2019. The number of reported hateful incidents was also on the rise for at least the preceding two years.
A total of 24 people were charged in connection with hate crimes last year, accounting for 58 counts of various offences, the OPS said. Among the most serious violations police saw were mischief to property, assault, threats, theft and harassment.
Police said the groups most-often targeted by hate crimes are Ottawa’s Black, Jewish, Muslim, LGBTQ2, and east and south-east Asian communities.
The OPS has reported previously that hate crimes against Asian populations were on the rise in 2020 in connection with racism and xenophobia surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Two incidents in October alone saw a man’s vehicle spat on by an aggressor, while another man was told coming out of the Rideau Centre that, “being forced to wear a mask makes (him) want to kill Asians.”
In May, police also investigated reports of a man and woman driving around Nepean yelling hateful slurs at people of Asian descent.
The OPS reintroduced its hate crime unit in January 2020 to focus on investigating hate-motivated incidents, with the chief of police acknowledging at the time that hate crimes are likely under-reported in the city. That same month, police reported that the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa was defaced after a man seemingly threw eggs at the memorial.