By TOM GODFREY
Incidents of hate crimes are increasing in Canada and members of the Black and Jewish communities are most likely to be victims of the hate, according to a study by Statistics Canada.
There were 1,414 police-reported criminal incidents in 2012 that were motivated by hate, according to a study released last week by the federal agency that examined hate crimes nationwide from two years ago, when the numbers were last available.
It said about half of the hate crimes, or about 704 incidents, were directed against racial groups; with Blacks receiving the brunt of the abuse, followed by Asian, Arab and Aboriginal citizens.
Some 419 incidents, or 30 per cent of hate crimes, were directed against religious groups, with the most incidents targeting Jews, followed by Muslim and Roman Catholics, the survey showed.
About 185 incidents, or 13 per cent, were motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation and 6 per cent by language, mental or physical disability, sex, age, or some other characteristic.
“Black populations continued to be the most commonly targeted group for hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity,” according to the study, that said there were 295 hate crimes targeting Blacks in 2012.
“Victims of violent hate crimes targeting Blacks were predominantly male,” the study said. “The majority of individuals, or about 56 per cent, who were accused of hate crimes targeting Blacks were under age 25, including 40 per cent who were under age 18.”
Hate crimes targeting Arab and West Asian populations made up 9 per cent of the abuse, followed by 7 per cent against the South Asian community, the study said.
In 2012, some 7.2 per cent of the population reported that they were Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist, compared to 4.9 per cent in 2001. The Jewish population has remained stable at 1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
“Hate crimes targeting Black populations and Jewish populations were the most common types of hate crime, and were the most likely to involve non-violent offences,” the study said.
Nearly three-quarters of hate crimes targeting Jewish populations were mischief and 68 per cent of the mischief was motivated by hate.
Police reported 45 crimes that were motivated by hatred against the Muslim religion in 2012. This represented an estimated rate of 4.3 hate crimes per 100,000 individuals reporting that they were Muslim, the study said.
It said about 72 per cent of the hate crimes targeting Muslims were non-violent and involved mischief.
At the same time, some 19 per cent of the Canadian population in 2011 was a member of a visible minority, compared to 16 per cent in the 2006 Census and 13 per cent in the 2001 Census.
The study said even a ‘victimless’ crime, such as hate graffiti written in a public place, may have a broad effect on the population it targets.
There were 82 more hate crime incidents in Canada in 2012 than in 2011. Some of the increase is partly due to improvements in reporting by some police services.
The study lists Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Peterborough as having the highest incidents of hate crime in Canada.
And the majority, or 82 per cent of hate crimes, occurred in major cities with Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver leading the way.
Of the hate crimes reported and examined, 75 per cent had been confirmed by police as hate-motivated; and the remaining 25 per cent were recorded as suspected, Statistics Canada said.