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Reported hate crimes on the rise in Ottawa, police say

Ottawa police say the number of reported hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents is up significantly compared to this time last year.

In a news release issued Friday, the Ottawa Police Service said it has seen a 23.5 per cent rise in hate- and bias-motivated incidents from 2022 so far.

Of the 221 reported hate-motivated incidents to date in 2023, police said, 158 have been deemed criminal and 63 have been determined to be hate-motivated but non-criminal. Twenty-three people have been charged with 56 counts of hate-motivated offences, with one formal charge of public incitement of hatred.

The incidents range from threats and harassment to robbery and assault.

These include:

  • 62 incidents of mischief to property
  • 25 threats uttered to a person
  • 19 level one assaults (i.e., not aggravated assault or assault with a weapon)
  • 15 incidents of criminal stalking or harassment
  • 6 incidents of mischief to a cultural property

"As a police service we have zero tolerance for any type of hate-motivated incident," said Chief Eric Stubbs in a news release. "We want the community to know that we take every report seriously and we will fully investigate each incident. Hateful rhetoric, crimes, and incidents are unacceptable. These incidents threaten the peace and security of our families, our friends, our neighbours, and visitors to our city."

Recently, Ottawa police announced charges against three youth for an alleged hate-motivated robbery in the west against an LGBTQ2S+ individual and, and the RCMP arrested an Ottawa man on terrorism charges, alleging he created propaganda material for neo-Nazis.

"I met with representatives from the Pride communities and had an open discussion about their concerns," Stubbs is quoted saying. "As a police service, we fully support the 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities and we are working with them to ensure that people who attend public events feel safe doing so. We continue to work towards a strong relationship with the 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities to further build trust."

There were 377 reports of hate-motivated incidents in 2022 and 340 in 2021.

According to the statistics provided by police, the most common targets of hate-motivated incidents are:

  • Jewish – 36 incidents
  • LGBTQ2S+ – 32 incidents
  • Black – 30 incidents
  • Chinese – 8 incidents
  • Muslim – 7 incidents

"The statistics are sobering because we know that they only tell part of the story," said Stubbs. "So often, these types of incidents go unreported and we know that this data only provides a glimpse of what people are experiencing out in the community." Top Stories

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