Tuesday, June 8, 2004
SPOTLIGHT: Hate crime
Targets of hatred
The majority of hate crimes in Canada are motivated by race or ethnicity, and members of visible minorities are twice as worried as other Canadians about becoming victims, according to a new report.
Twelve major Canadian police forces reported a total of 928 hate crime incidents during 2001 and 2002.
The largest single group of victims identified was Jewish people, or their institutions. One-quarter of all incidents were anti-Semitic in nature. Blacks were victims in 17% of cases, and Muslims in 11%.
About 57% of incidents were motivated by race or ethnicity, and 43% religion. (In some cases, motivation overlapped.) Sexual orientation was the motivation in about one in 10. Incidents involving sexual orientation were more likely to be violent and result in injury.
About 29% of hate crime violations consisted of mischief or vandalism, 25% assault, and 13% hate propaganda.
In 2002, an earlier survey found that 5% of Canadians aged 15 and over were worried about being the victim of an ethno-cultural hate crime. This proportion doubled to 11% among the visible minority population. Those of Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths also expressed levels of fear higher than the general population.
Victims were identified in over four-fifths of all hate crime incidents. In total, there were 794 victims, with an average age of 36. Two-thirds were male.
One-fifth of hate-crime victims had a weapon used against them. One-quarter of victims of a violent crime suffered an injury as a result of the hate crime incident. About 7% of victims suffered major injuries, and two such cases resulted in death.
Difficult to identify a suspect
Accused were identified in slightly less than one-half of the hate crime incidents. Due to the very nature of certain types of hate crime violations, it is difficult to identify a suspect. This is especially true in cases of graffiti, other acts of vandalism, or incidents involving anonymous hate messages.
During the two-year period, there were 537 accused, mostly men. Their average age was 29.
The majority of those charged with a hate crime were involved in isolated incidents. However, 4% had been involved in previous hate crimes, and 3% were connected to a gang or an extremist group.
The participating police services were Calgary, Edmonton, Halton Regional, Montréal, Ottawa, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (excluding detachments from British Columbia), Regina, Sudbury, Toronto, Waterloo, Windsor and Winnipeg. Combined, they represent about 43% of the national volume of crimes.
You can read the report Juristat: Hate Crime in Canada, 2001-2002 on line.
For more information, contact Client Services (1-800-387-2231), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
© 2004, Statistics Canada.