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Police services in Canada reported 1,036 hate crimes in 2008, up 35% from 2007. Just over half (55%) were motivated by race or ethnicity, 26% by religion and 16% by sexual orientation.
All three major categories of hate crime increased in 2008. The largest increase was among those motivated by sexual orientation, which more than doubled from 2007 to 2008. Hate crimes motivated by religion increased 53%, while those motivated by race or ethnicity increased to a lesser extent, up 15%.
Violent crimes, mainly assaults and uttering threats, accounted for 42% of all hate crimes. Mischief offences such as vandalism to property accounted for 47%, while other non-violent offences comprised the remaining 11%.
Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were the most violent in nature. In 2008, 75% of those motivated by sexual orientation were violent compared with 38% of racially-motivated incidents and 25% of religiously-motivated incidents.
Among violent incidents motivated by sexual orientation, 85% of the victims were male.
Police-reported hate crimes refer to criminal incidents that, upon investigation by police, are determined to have been motivated by hate towards an identifiable group. The incident may target race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, language, sex, age, mental or physical disability, or other factors such as profession or political beliefs.
Data on the incidence of police-reported hate crime became available in 2006 from police services representing 88% of the population. Data for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are available only for British Columbia.
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. Other research has shown that a victim's decision to report a hate-motivated crime to police may be influenced by various factors. These include: the importance of the incident; police sensitivity to the issue; existence of specialized hate crime units; fear of retaliation and feelings of humiliation; language or cultural barriers; and, the accessibility of victim services in the community.
Among the hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity, almost 4 in 10 were committed against Blacks. Police reported 205 hate crimes against Blacks in 2008, up 30% over 2007, but still lower than the 2006 total of 238.
South Asians, which includes East Indians and Pakistanis, were the next most commonly targeted group, accounting for 12% of hate crime incidents motivated by race or ethnicity. Incidents targeting South Asians increased by 21% in 2008.
As in previous years, about two-thirds of religiously-motivated hate crimes were committed against the Jewish faith. There were 165 hate crimes targeting the Jewish faith in 2008, up 42%.
Police reported 30 hate crimes against the Catholic faith, double the total in 2007. The 26 incidents against the Muslim faith represented a slight drop from 2007.
Vancouver and Hamilton reported the highest rates (6.3 hate crimes per 100,000 population) among Canada's 10 largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Police reported 143 hate crimes in Vancouver in 2008, nearly double the total from the previous year.
There were 271 hate crimes reported in the CMA of Toronto. It ranked near the middle of the 10 largest CMAs with a rate of 5.4 hate crimes per 100,000 population. Montréal, where police reported 38 hate crimes in 2008, had the lowest rate (1.0).
The number of hate crimes reported by police in any given area may be influenced by the presence or absence of specialized hate crime units or initiatives.
The Juristat article "Police-reported hate crime in Canada," 2008, Vol. 30, no. 2 (85-002-X, free), is now available. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Crime and Justice, and Juristat.
Data for 2008 on hate-motivated crime, street gang crime and cyber crime are available for a sub-set of police services across Canada reporting to the newest version of the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2.2).
These new data elements were developed by Statistics Canada with the financial assistance of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Data are available upon request only.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Information and Client Services (toll-free 1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
|Type of motivation||2007r||2008||2007 to 2008|
|number||%1||number||%1||% change in number|
|Race or ethnicity|
|East and Southeast Asian||57||12.1||44||8.0||-23|
|Arab or West Asian||34||7.2||37||6.7||9|
|Multiple races or ethnicities||75||15.9||115||20.9||53|
|Race/ethnicity||Religion||Sexual orientation||Other or unknown||Total|