Police-reported hate crimes, 2015
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Hate crimes rose by 5% in Canada in 2015, largely due to an increase in incidents targeting certain religious and ethno-cultural groups, specifically the Muslim population and Arabs or West Asians. For the year, police reported 1,362 criminal incidents that were motivated by hate in Canada, 67 more than the previous year.
These findings are included in the new Juristat article "Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2015" released today.
Police-reported hate crimes refer to criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are found to have been motivated by hatred toward an identifiable group, as defined in subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code of Canada. An incident may be against a person or property and may target race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, among other factors. In addition, there are four specific offences listed as hate propaganda offences or hate crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hatred, and mischief motivated by hate in relation to religious property. Police determine whether or not a crime was motivated by hatred based on information gathered during the investigation and common national guidelines for record classification.
Overall, police reported 469 Criminal Code incidents in 2015 that were motivated by hatred of a religion, 40 more incidents than the previous year. These accounted for 35% of hate-motivated crimes reported in 2015.
Police-reported hate crimes targeting the Muslim population increased from 99 incidents in 2014 to 159 incidents in 2015, an increase of 61%. At the same time, the number of police-reported crimes targeting the Jewish population declined from 213 in 2014 to 178 in 2015. Hate crimes targeting the Jewish population accounted for 13% of all hate crimes, followed closely by hate crimes targeting the Muslim population (12%).
Approximately 10% of the population in Canada were part of a non-Christian religion in 2016. According to recent projections by Statistics Canada, the number of people in Canada with a non-Christian religion could almost double by 2036. Within this group, the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths would see the number of their followers grow more quickly, although still representing a small portion of the population overall. In 2015, a number of police services increased outreach to ethnic groups, including Muslim communities. In addition, the National Council of Canadian Muslims made efforts to encourage reporting of hate crimes to police.
Increase in hate crimes against Arab and West Asian populations
From 2014 to 2015, the number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity increased 5%. Much of this increase was a result of more hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations (+33%). Although down in 2015, crimes targeting Black populations remained the most common type of hate crime related to race or ethnicity (17% of all hate crimes). Overall, 48% of all police-reported hate crimes in 2015 were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity.
National increase in hate crimes driven by more incidents being reported by police in Alberta
In all, 8 of 10 provinces reported an increase in the number of police-reported hate crimes from 2014 to 2015. The increase was most pronounced in Alberta, where police reported 193 hate crimes compared with 139 the year before (+39%). This increase was primarily driven by a higher number of police-reported crimes motivated by hatred against the Muslim population (+12 incidents), Arab or West Asian populations (+10), Black populations (+9), and the Jewish population (+8). It should be noted that Alberta also reported an overall increase in their 2015 crime statistics.
In contrast, in Ontario, which historically records close to half the total number of hate crimes in Canada (46%), the number of police-reported hate crimes declined by 5% from 2014. The decrease in Ontario was primarily driven by fewer police-reported hate crimes motivated by hatred against the Jewish religion (-30 incidents) and against the Black population (-19).
From 2014 to 2015, police-reported crime motivated by hatred against the Muslim population increased in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where the totals remained virtually the same.
Number of hate crime incidents grows in four of Canada's ten largest census metropolitan areas
More than 80% of police-reported hate crimes in Canada occurred in census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The 10 largest CMAs in Canada, home to over half of Canada's population, accounted for 71% of hate crimes in 2015. The three most populous CMAs of Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver together accounted for 43% of police-reported incidents in 2015.
Of the 10 largest CMAs in Canada, 4 reported more hate crimes in 2015 compared with the previous year, while 5 reported fewer such crimes. Vancouver reported the same number of incidents in 2015 as in 2014. The largest increases in hate crime incidents were reported in Edmonton (+45 incidents), Montréal (+39) and Kitchener–Waterloo–Cambridge (+23).
The increase in the Edmonton CMA was driven by more reported hate crime incidents against a race or ethnicity (+25) and against a religion (+17), mainly targeting the Muslim (+8) and Jewish (+7) populations. The number of hate crimes in Montréal was attributable to 33 more reported incidents targeting a religion. Of the additional incidents, 20 of these targeted the Muslim population. In the CMA of Kitchener–Waterloo–Cambridge, counts were primarily driven by more incidents targeting different races or ethnicities (+12) and religions (+10).
Increase reported in number of female victims of violent hate crimes
Females were more likely to be victims in incidents targeting a religion, and the presence of female victims in violent crimes motivated by hatred of a religion increased in 2015. That year, 53% of these victims were female, compared with 40% in 2014. The increase in female victims of religious hate crimes is attributed to an increase in female victims for Jewish and Muslim hate crimes from 2014 to 2015.
Victims of hate crimes targeting a sexual orientation are most likely to sustain an injury and know the accused
Police-reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation declined 9% for the year, down from 155 incidents in 2014 to 141 incidents in 2015. They accounted for 11% of the hate crimes reported in 2015.
Unlike other types of hate crimes, almost 6 in 10 of reported crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation were violent. This compares with 45% of anti-race or ethnicity offences, and 24% of anti-religion hate crimes. Just over 4 in 10 victims of hate crimes targeting a sexual orientation (42%) reported an injury, compared with victims of violent crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity (29%) and of a religion (12%).
Victims of violent hate crimes targeting sexual orientation were more likely to list the relationship as acquaintance or family member (47%). This compares with victims of violent crimes motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity (36%) and of a religion (26%).
Violent hate crimes increase in 2015, but still account for less than half of hate crimes
Violent offences accounted for 38% of police-reported hate crimes in 2015. Violent offences included such things as assault, uttering threats, and criminal harassment. Overall, the number of violent hate crimes increased 15% from the previous year, driven by increases in common assault and uttering threats.
From 2014 to 2015, the total number of non-violent hate crime incidents increased by 5%. Mischief, which includes vandalism and graffiti, was the most commonly reported offence among police-reported hate crimes, accounting for 44% of all hate crime incidents in 2015.
Note to readers
Police-reported hate crime data have been collected on an annual basis since 2006 and, since 2010, data cover 99% of the population of Canada.
Fluctuations in the annual number of incidents can be influenced by changes in local police service practices and community involvement, as well as the willingness of victims to report incidents to police. The number of hate crimes presented in this release likely undercounts the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police. Self-reported victimization data from Canadians suggest that about one-third (35%) of incidents perceived by respondents to have been motivated by hate were reported to police.
Data on hate crime for 2015 are now available upon request for police services across Canada reporting to the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.
The Juristat article "Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2015" (85-002-X) is now available. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Crime and Justice, and Juristat.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).