Hamilton Police release hate crime statistics for 2021

Hamilton police have seen a 35% increase in the number of hate/bias incidents and criminal offenses compared to the previous year. In 2021, a total of 108 hate/bias incidents were reported to Hamilton police.

The majority of reported events were directly related to racial bias, followed by religion and sexual orientation. Last year, the black community, the Jewish community and the 2S&LGBTQIA community were the groups most often victimized. There has also been a surge in events targeting the Islamic community, which is consistent across the province.

“This upward trend in hate crimes is concerning as it creates fear within our community. This impacts the sense of belonging, safety and well-being of members of our community who are targeted by these hate incidents and crimes. As a community, we need to do better,” said Chief Frank Bergen.

All occurrences are categorized by the Hamilton Police Hate Crimes Investigator based on crimes and incidents reported to Hamilton Police. Although there has been an increase in the number of hate/bias occurrences, the actual number is likely much higher since most incidents go unreported.

Reporting hateful events is an important step in stopping the cycle of hate and preventing others from being victimized.

“We know that the impact of hate is far-reaching and affects not just the victim, but the whole community. It is important that the police are aware of hate crimes so that we can do an analysis to ensure that action is taken and the right resources are allocated to make our community safer, “said Fabiano Mendes, crime investigator hateful.

Hamilton Police are currently working to establish a Hate Crime Case Review Team in response to hate crimes in Hamilton. Modeled on the Sexual Assault Community Review Team (SACRT), the Hate Crimes Case Review Team partners with local community organizations to review cases, provide recommendations and advise on Training.

Last year, the Hate Crimes Unit stepped up training for officers to identify and classify hate crimes and incidents. The Hate Crimes Unit, with the assistance of the Community Relations Coordinator, 2S&LGBTQIA Liaison and Victim Services, actively engaged with community members to increase awareness and encourage victims to reporting hate crimes and incidents.

“We engaged and listened to the community for changes that will inspire community safety when it comes to hate crimes. One of the things we heard was asking the police to be more forceful in their condemnation of hateful activity in the city,” said community relations coordinator Jasbir Dhillon.

In 2021, Hamilton police laid a willful charge of promoting hatred against a Hamilton man. After the senseless murder of a Muslim family in London, a 26-year-old Hamilton man intentionally targeted and promoted hatred against members of the Muslim community through social media. After investigating the incident, the Hamilton Police Hate Crimes Unit made a request to the Attorney General of Ontario and obtained consent to lay the charge. This was the first time this charge had been laid by Hamilton police.

“Combating hate in Hamilton will take a concerted effort by everyone. As citizens, we must come together to fight hate in our community. By working collaboratively, we can ensure a unified response to support victims and address the root causes of hate,” said Chief Bergen.

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