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Peterborough area hate crime rate in 2020 highest of Canada’s census metropolitan areas: report

Click to play video: 'Peterborough CMA ranked the highest rate of police-reported hate crimes per capita in Canada' Peterborough CMA ranked the highest rate of police-reported hate crimes per capita in Canada
In 2020, of all Census Metropolitan Areas in the country, Peterborough had the highest rate of police-reported hate crimes according to Statistics Canada. A recent release show that Peterborough and the surrounding area had 19.4 hate crimes per 100,000 people. Sam Houpt reports – Mar 22, 2022

A new report by Statistics Canada shows the Peterborough area had the highest rates of police-reported hate crime among census metropolitan areas (CMA) in 2020.

Entitled “Police-reported hate crime in 2020,” the report states the Peterborough region had 19.4 hate crimes per 100,000 population. The Peterborough CMA consists of the city, Selwyn Township, Cavan Monaghan Township, Douro-Dummer Township, Otonabee-South Monaghan Township, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

A hate crime is defined as any crime that targets a person based on their identification, including race, religion or sexual orientation.

Read more: ‘I hate Black people’ — Peterborough man recalls personal experience of racism

Peterborough’s rate was ahead of Ottawa (16.6), Guelph (15.1), Vancouver (13.8) and Thunder Bay (11.1).

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Among CMAs, police reported an increase in hate crime incidents in 22 of 35 CMAs. Peterborough’s CMA saw a 126 per cent increase in reported hate crime between 2019 and 2020, just behind Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo with a 253 per cent increase.

Late Monday, the Peterborough Police Service issued its review of the report, noting that it serves Peterborough, Lakefield and Cavan-Monaghan Township thus not all of the Peterborough CMA jurisdiction.

The service released the following statistics it has compiled on hate crime incidents and investigations from 2019 to 2021. Over the three-year span, 89 incidents were reported with 52 being deemed a crime. Of the 89 incidents, 44 have been solved (49.4 per cent) with 45 unsolved (50..6 per cent):

  • 2021: Investigated 31 incidents; 18 of them were deemed a crime with four charges laid. Of the 31 incidents, 15 were solved and 16 remain unsolved.
  • 2020: Investigated 36 incidents; 24 of them were deemed a crime and six charges were laid. Of the 36 incidents, 17 were solved and 19 remain unsolved.
  • 2019: Investigated 22 incidents; 10 were deemed a crime and two charges were laid. Of the 22 incidents, 12 were solved and 10 remain unsolved.

“Peterborough Police are both disappointed and appreciative of the statistics,” stated acting police chief Tim Farquharson. “Disappointed that reports of such incidents continue to have to be made and appreciative that people continue to come forward about their experiences. Investigations into hate-motivated or bias-motivated crimes are extremely complex and are not taken lightly.

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Of the 52 incidents being deemed a crime between 2019 and 2021, 12 resulted in charges laid.

“It’s important for the public to know that in order to lay charges in crimes of this nature a criminal offence must have occurred or the victim’s race, nationality, ethnicity, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation must be deemed to have motivated the crime, which is what makes it so complex,” said Farquharson.

Read more: ‘Hateful’ sign targets Peterborough-Kawartha Liberal candidate Maryam Monsef

Statistics Canada’s report says in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, police reported 2,669 hate crimes in Canada, up 37 per cent from 2019 — the largest single-year increase since data was collected in 2009. Hate crimes targeting the Black population led the increase with a jump of 318 incidents in 2020, followed by the East or Southeast Asian population (+202 incidents), the Indigenous population (+44 incidents) and the South Asian population (+38 incidents).

For the Peterborough Police Service’s incidents, Farquharson says the statistics show over the past three years, there appears to be no one specific group targeted.

“That said, we do see some increases in these types of incidents as it relates to national and/or international situations,” he noted. “Ultimately, there should be no room for hate in our community, and we hope to see these numbers go down.”

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Farquharson noted that in 2017 the service launched the Stop H8 Crime campaign to help raise awareness about hate crimes and how to report incidents.

“This information continues to be relevant, and we encourage people to pass this message along to their networks and to know that it’s important to report hate incidents and hate crimes,” he said. “Part of the continued commitment by Peterborough police is to look at ways to make reporting hate incidents and hate crimes easier as well as ongoing training into diversity, equity, and inclusion for all members of the service.”

The New Canadians Centre in Peterborough, which provides support services for immigrants, refugees, and other newcomers, released a survey in October 2021 that showed of 268 respondents, approximately 71 per cent reported a strong sense of belonging in the city over the past 12 months (50 per cent reported strong, 21 per cent reported “very strong”).

But the report notes that 25 per cent of respondents (67 individuals) said they had experienced discrimination in the city over the past 12 months.

“When asked to elaborate, participants indicated that they experienced discrimination mostly related to their race, accent, skin colour and culture,” the report states. “Correspondingly, participants who identified as White were significantly less likely to report having experienced discrimination than all other participants. Some participants also noted that they were targeted for being Asian early on in the pandemic.”

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— more to come

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