Hate incidents in Hamilton increased by over 60 percent according to the Hamilton Police Hate Crimes Unit in its annual report. 2022 saw 174 incidents, compared to 108 in 2021. It is the second highest number of such incidents since 2011 when there were 180 incidents reported. Of the 174 incidents, 26 were categorized as hate crimes—a hate crime being described as a criminal act where it can be proven that the act was motivated by bias or prejudice. A hate incident is an incident where prejudice is apparent but cannot be proven.
In both categories race was the number one category of complaint with 80 incidents involving racial bias and 11 hate crimes involving race. Next was religion with 40 incidents and 9 identified crimes, followed by sexual orientation with 19 incidents and four crimes. The majority of the 80 race-related hate incidents were directed towards black persons, with Asian and Arab incidents totalling 20.
Antisemitism was the most common hate incident related to religion with 42 out of 49 incidents involving the Jewish faith.
Of the 26 identified hate crimes, 9 involved graffiti, 8 involved threats and there were six assaults. Police were able to clear 14 of the 26 hate crimes.
To address the hate issue Hamilton Police have taken several actions:
• Presented to community groups to increase awareness about hate occurrences and reporting.
• Attendance at community events with representation from a member of the Community Relations or Hate Crime Unit. This engagement was geared to building trust and relationships with diverse communities, which encourages reporting.
• Responded to community concerns and worked with communities to issue special attentions that offer reassurance of safety to communities.
• Enhanced support to victims of hate through follow-up with HPS Victim Services
• Ongoing efforts to develop collaborative measures to prevent hate through the Hate Crime Case Review Team.
• Provided training to all new recruits on understanding, identifying, and investigating hate occurrences. • Delivered anti-racism, anti-discrimination training to all sworn officer through BLOCK training program. • Delivered cultural competency training to civilian members.
• Attended various conferences and seminars related to hate prevention, investigations, and support for communities. The Hate Crime Investigator, 2S&LGBTQIA Liaison Officer, EDI Specialist and Community Relations Coordinator, joined these seminars.
• Developed the Hate Crime Dashboard, which provides real time data regarding hate crimes and occurrences in Hamilton. Analytic data provided by the dashboard aids with the identification of areas of concern and trends, which can help in focused prevention measures.
• Ensured accessibility by providing multiple avenues to report such as online, over the phone or in person.
• Participated in the HSR “See Something Do Something” QR code campaign.
The Hamilton Police Victim Services in partnership with the Hate Crime Unit will be hosting a Hate Crime Symposium in May. The Symposium will be opened to both police and community members and it will be an opportunity to discuss issues surrounding hate related occurrence and support to victims of hate.
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