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Ottawa sees 19 per cent increase in reported hate crimes in 2023, police say

Ottawa Police headquarters on Elgin St. is seen in this undated photo. (CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa Police headquarters on Elgin St. is seen in this undated photo. (CTV News Ottawa)

The number of reported hate crimes in Ottawa increased 19 per cent in 2023 from the year before, according to Ottawa police.

The Hate and Bias Crime Unit investigated 460 reported incidents in 2023, including 344 criminal and 116 hate-motivated incidents. That's up from 377 total incidents, including 300 criminal and 77 hate incidents, reported in Ottawa in 2022.

Police say 43 people were charged with a total of 123 criminal offences. Four of those charges were formal hate-crime charges under the Criminal Code of Canada for public incitement of hatred, according to police.

Twenty-three warnings were also issued under the Youth Criminal Justice Act last year.

Police say the groups most victimized were Jewish (92 reported incidents), LGBTQ2+ (65 reported incidents), Black (59 reported incidents) and Muslim (21 reported incidents). 

According to police, the "most serious violations" were mischief to property, threats, assault, harassing communication and theft under $5,000.

"Hate crimes are extremely underreported. We encourage anyone who has experienced a hate incident to report it to us for further investigation," police said in a statement.

In December, police reported an increase in hate-motivated crimes and other incidents since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.  Between Oct. 7 and Dec. 2, there were 71 hate-motivated incidents reported to police, with 57 of those deemed criminal in nature.

The number of reported hate crimes in Ottawa has been on the rise for several years. Ottawa police reported 377 total incidents in 2022, 340 incidents in 2021 and 181 in 2020.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Ted Raymond Top Stories

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