Despite Toronto turning more multicultural than ever, the reported hate crimes jumped by 28 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016, according the latest report from the Toronto Police Hate Crimes Unit.
In all, 186 “hate-motivated occurrences” were recorded, with mischief-to-property offences like vandalism and graffiti accounting for much of the spike.
Hate crime statistics have fluctuated slightly over the last decade, averaging out to 147 occurrences per year. The last year with a number this high was 2009, with 174.
In the report, the Hate Crime Unit lists “international events, community educational programs, hate crime training, and increased reporting” as playing a role.
Hate crimes motivated by religion continue to account for the majority of occurrences, with 28 per cent in 2017 directed at Jewish people and 18 per cent directed at the city’s Muslim community.
Statistics Canada reported a 60 per cent spike in hate crimes against Muslims in Canada between 2014 and 2015.
In 2015, Muslims were victimized 26 times, a number which dropped to 22 in 2016, rising to 33 occurrences in 2017.
Most occurrences take place in a street, a laneway, or a vehicle, with schools and businesses following as the most likely locations. The majority of the incidents recorded were in downtown 52 Division and in the city’s north-west.
Black Torontonians, targeted in 18 per cent of the occurrences, are most likely to be the victim of a mischief-to-property offence, while Muslims and LGBT community members are more likely to be assaulted.
The number of people arrested in relation to hate-motivated offences also rose slightly, from 19 in 2016 to 23 in 2017.
The results of the Hate Crime Unit’s report were discussed at the Police Services Board meeting on Wednesday, April 18.
Many ethnic Canadians this reporter spoke to have never been victims of racism or hate in Toronto and are less sure about that being the case if they move to less diverse regions of the country. However, even that fear may really be misplaced. – CINEWS