Hate Crime Reporting Improves
More and more hate crimes are being reported across the country, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
In 2009, the number of hate crime reported in Canada went up by 42%, and police are optimistic. “It’s not that the hate crimes are actually increasing,” explained Ken Smith from the Edmonton police department’s hate crimes unit. “People are feeling more comfortable reporting it.”
Indeed, hate crimes have been historically under-reported. According to a Statistics Canada survey from 2004, 60% of hate crime victims claimed that they didn’t bother reporting the incidents to the police. A change in this number is welcome news because it allows for more opportunities to catch the people who commit these crimes. This is particularly true with respect to GLBT victims, who are finally feeling safe enough to out themselves to the police and more confident that the police will help them.
GLBT victims, incidentally, need to report these incidents the most. The severest hate crimes—violent assaults—were committed against members of the GLBT community more often than any other identifiable minority, a disturbing trend.
Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done to improve things, but the most important step—reporting hate crimes when they happen—is already happening. So, while I’d be most happy if hate crimes stopped altogether as of last night (one can hope, right?), I take the latest statistics as an encouraging move toward a safer life for everyone.
- Increase in Edmonton hate crimes due to more frequent reporting, police say [Edmonton Journal]