Hate Divides a Community
THUNDER BAY – The City of Thunder Bay made it to number two atop of the reported hate crimes listings released by Statistics Canada. The report, documenting reported hate crimes in Canada was released on Thursday.
Thunder Bay has the second greatest number of hate crimes reported to police in Canada. Hamilton topped the list.
In 2012, police reported 1,414 criminal incidents motivated by hate in Canada, 82 more incidents than in 2011. These hate crimes represented 4.1 incidents per 100,000 population.
In 2012, about half of all hate crimes (704 incidents, or 51%) were motivated by hatred toward a race or ethnicity such as Black, Asian, Arab or Aboriginal populations. Another 419 incidents, or 30%, were motivated by hatred towards a particular religion, including hate crimes targeting Jewish, Muslim, Catholic and other religions.
An additional 13% (185 incidents) were motivated by sexual orientation, while the remaining 6% of hate crimes were motivated by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age or some other characteristic (such as occupation or political beliefs).
Thunder Bay has been working toward solving some of the issues in our community. The real test of success will come as Statistics Canada reports the 2013 and 2014 results.
2010 Hate Crimes
2008 Hate Crimes
The front-line defense is the Thunder Bay Police and residents reporting incidents.
The TPBS state that a hate crime is, “A criminal offence committed against a person or property, that is perceived to be motivated and/or is motivated, in whole or in part by the suspect’s hate, bias or prejudice based on real or perceived race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.
“Hate Incidents – Definition: Involve behaviours that, though motivated by bias against a victim’s race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation, are not criminal acts. An example of a hate incident is the use of racial slurs against individuals or groups.”
The Thunder Bay Police are enhancing officers’ investigating and reporting capacity to identify hate crimes and incidents and will continue work on behalf of those impacted by bringing evidence to the Crown for consideration during sentencing.
There are likely many incidents that go unreported. People using racial slurs against a person is not likely to generate a call to police in too many cases.
Thunder Bay has seen a large spike in the reporting of hate crimes to police.
This is an issue that must be the focus of action rather than mere talk by all levels of government in our city. The message from Thunder Bay has to be that we are an open, accepting and tolerant city.