OTTAWA -- The number of hate crimes in Ottawa rose 57 per cent last year, according to newly released data from Ottawa police.

Police say there were 182 hate crimes cases reported in 2020, up from 116 the previous year.

"The Ottawa Police Service takes hate-motivated incidents very seriously and they are investigated to the fullest extent," said Acting Sergeant Ali Toghrol of the Hate and Bias Crime Unit.

"Hate, in any form, is not tolerated in Ottawa."

The Ottawa Police Service re-established its hate crime unit in January 2020, which allowed police to specifically focus on hate-motivated incidents.

"A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated by hate/bias or prejudice based on race, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, or other similar factor," said police.

The Ottawa Police Service says the groups most victimized are:

  • Black
  • Jewish
  • East and South-East Asian
  • LGBTQ+
  • Muslim

 Police say the most serious violations seen by officers in the Hate Crime Unit are:

  • Mischief to property
  • Assault
  • Threats/utter to person
  • Theft under $5000
  • Harassing communication

Last May, Ottawa police said it was investigating two hateful incidents targeting the city's Asian community that may have been related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The incidents involving the occupants of a vehicle were in the area of Viewmount Drive and Four Seasons Drive.

Police said at the time that in each incident, the occupants of the vehicle "have been approaching pedestrians of Asian descent and yelling racial slurs, obscenities and swearing at them."

In October, police were investigating two hate-motivated incidents targeting Asian men.

In one incident, police said the complainant was entering a store at the Rideau Centre when a man told him "being forced to wear a mask makes me want to kill Asians."

Ottawa police say 24 people were charged with 58 counts of various hate-motivated offences in 2020.