York Region registers increase in reported hate crimes

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Hate crimes in York Region increased between 2020 and 2021, according to data released by the York Regional Police Services Board.

A report that will be considered by the police board on Wednesday, shows increases in a number of hate-motivated crimes, including those that were motivated by race, religion and sexual orientation.

“There has been a stark increase in hate incidents in 2021, not only in York Region but throughout Canada,” the police report said.

The report singled out an increase in hate crimes against Asian, Black, Jewish and Muslim communities in York Region. Police noted a “steady surge” in hate incidents in cities like Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.

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The total number of hate crimes grew 22 per cent from 160 to 195 in 2021.

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According to the data, the number of race motivated hates crimes grew 17 per cent between 2020 and 2021. The figure jumped from 89 incidents to 104 reported cases last year.

Almost half of race motivated hate crimes in York Region last year were against Black residents, who make up just five per cent of the local population. A total of 48 of the 104 incidents last year (46 per cent) were against Black residents, compared to 39 in 2020.

The number of hate motivated crimes against East and Southeast Asian communities also grew 53 per cent in 2021.

The number of crimes motivated by anti-religious hate also increased significantly, growing to 58 incidents last year. The majority of those incidents, 43, were against the Jewish community.

Hate crimes against gay or lesbian people in York grew by 23 per cent, with 27 separate crimes recorded in 2021.

“The reporting of hate crime continues to be a challenge for many members of our community due to fear of victimization, retaliation, culture, language barriers and uncertainty with the justice system,” the police report said.

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Mischief hate was the most common hate crime, with 45 occurrences last year. There were also 35 incidents of uttering threats to a person and 30 cases of harassing communications.

Last year there were 27 incidents of hate-motivated assault level one crimes.

“York Regional Police encourages the reporting of hate crime and are proactive with efforts focused on prevention, education, social cohesion and overall community resilience,” the police report said.

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