Black, Jewish and LGBTQ2 most frequent victims of hate incidents in 2023: Hamilton police – Hamilton

Hamilton police’s latest Hate/Bias Report is delivering a consistent story when it comes to the “most frequently victimized” groups across the city.
The annual report, to be presented at a board meeting on Thursday, says members of the Black, Jewish and LGBTQ2 communities are still the most targeted in hate-related service calls.In 2023, Hamilton Police Service (HPS) addressed 220 calls, with 79 categorized as crimes and 141 as cases with hate/bias overtones.“The majority of reported occurrences were directly related to racial bias, followed by religion and sexual orientation,” the analysis submitted by hate crime detective Lyndsay Scott said.

Hamilton Police Service

In all,  2023 saw a 26.4 per cent year-over-year increase in hate incidents. Story continues below advertisement

That’s lower than the 64 per cent increase recorded between 2021 and 2022, according to the study.About 15.2 per cent of the incidents considered crimes in 2023 were “cleared” by police through either an arrest, diversion, a victim declining to proceed with charges or another circumstance.That’s lower than the 53.8 per cent recorded in the 2022 analysis.

A geographical map of where hate/bias occurrences (crimes and incidents) took place for all of 2023 in Hamilton, Ont.

Hamilton Police Service

The data says “community outreach efforts” encouraging victims to report, and improved training for officers likely contributed to the rise in cases year to year.

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“International events, such as the ‘Capture the Pride Flag’ challenge and the ‘One Million March for Children’ campaign, led to notable increases in crimes related to the theft and destruction of Pride flags in Hamilton,” the report said. Story continues below advertisement

“Additionally, there was a surge in reported incidents linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas after October.”Scott, who is also an LGBTQ liaison officer, said most victims who didn’t pursue complaints characterized their situation as “not important” or felt the chances of the police apprehending a suspect were low.“Some victims see the incident as a personal matter, since it may involve family or colleagues, or there may be a feeling of blame or embarrassment about being targeted,” Scott said.

Not understanding they have been victimized, an endeavour to resolve the issue themselves, or negative experiences with police were other reasons investigations were not pursued.The report states the hate crimes and incidents in the study are the only ones the service knows about and that changes in numbers may reflect a rise in reporting due to “community outreach efforts or heightened awareness.”“The majority of all reported hate-related occurrences were random in nature, with no definable pattern, and were believed to have been committed by individuals and not by organized groups,” the report added.Broken down by ethnicity, the Black community was the most targeted, accounting for 69 occurrences, up by just four incidents year over year.Of those occurrences, 42 per cent were “graffiti-related,” according to the HPS. Story continues below advertisement

Hamilton Police Service

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Meanwhile, the Jewish community received the bulk of the hate incidents targeting religion with the total coming to 44, up slightly from the 42 reported in 2022.Over 77 per cent of those involved graffiti.There were 15 reported cases by members of the Muslim community in 2023, a marked increase from the five police dealt with in 2022.Reported hate/bias occurrences by sexual orientation and gender were more prevalent among those who identify as gay, who were targeted in 30 occurrences. Story continues below advertisement

Year over year, cases involving the gay community were up from the 22 recorded in 2022.Reports from the transgender community went down by one to nine in 2023, compared with the 10 known by police in 2022.

Hamilton Police Service

 The annual overview reiterated several initiatives the police service implemented last year in hopes of working collaboratively to improve outcomes for hate crime victims.At the top of the list was engagement using the HPS community relations and hate crime case review teams, which includes focus groups to identify concerns, needs and expectations.A “Hold Hate Crime” symposium last spring brought together over 100 police and community members to discuss issues. Story continues below advertisement

Police also have a hate crime dashboard providing real-time data on occurrences and have expanded their online reporting to include hate crimes.“By collaborating, we can ensure a coordinated response to support victims and tackle the underlying causes of hate,” police chief Frank Bergen said in a statement after the report was released.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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