The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/canada/justice/disproportionate-harm/dh-003-01

Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canada/justice/disproportionate-harm/dh-003-01
Last-Modified: 1997/01/14
Source: Department of Justice Canada


3.1 Hate Crimes in Other Jurisdictions

As noted in the introduction, the phenomenon of hate crime
is truly universal. Although a complete international survey
is beyond the scope of this report, some data from the
United States and the United Kingdom are presented to give
the reader an  idea of the extent and nature of the problem
in those jurisdictions. These countries have been selected
because they most closely resemble the Canadian context (in
terms of legal culture and socio-cultural history) as well
as because they are the jurisdictions  with the most
reliable crime statistics relating to hate motivation.

3.1.1 United States   (See Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1992, for 
                      more information about hate crime statistics
                      from different American states.)

According to the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act (to be
described in greater  detail later in this report), the
federal Attorney General is mandated to acquire hate crime
statistics. Since that year, these statistics have been
available from the United States Federal Department of
Justice. Table 1 provides a breakdown of hate crimes
recorded by police across the United States in 1992. These
data are drawn from law  enforcement agencies in over 40
states. These participating agencies covered slightly over
half the United States population (all data tables can be
found in Appendix A of  this report). As can be seen, the
most frequent offence category of hate crime is threats,
accounting for over one-third of all recorded incidents.
This is followed by  mischief/vandalism (23 percent of
incidents) and simple assault (20 percent). Personal  injury
offences account for over one-third of incidents. In total,
almost 9,000 incidents were recorded by the Federal Bureau
of Investigation in the most recent year for  which data are
available at the time of writing.

Table 2 presents a classification of the hate crimes in the
United States broken  down according to the nature of the
group targeted, from which it can be seen that the  most
frequent targets -- accounting for almost two-thirds of the
incidents -- were racial  minorities. The three other target
categories (ethnic groups, religious groups and  certain
sexual orientation) each account for approximately the same
percentage of  incidents (between 10 and 15 percent). Within
these categories, the following trends emerged. The most
frequent racial category victimized was Black Americans,
accounting for 59 percent of incidents. White American
victims accounted for slightly less than half all the
incidents in this category. Hispanic victims accounted for
the majority of incidents in the ethnicity category, while
anti-semitic incidents accounted  for the vast majority (88
percent) of incidents in the religion category. Almost three-
quarters (72 percent) of the sexual orientation category
were crimes against gay  persons.

These data should not be interpreted as firm indicators of
the relative incidence  of different forms of hate crime.
Rather, they presumably reflect both the actual   incidence
of such crimes as well as the likelihood that victims will
report to the police.   If some victims such as members of
the gay and lesbian community (and as noted  earlier,
research suggests that this is in fact the case) are less
likely to report than other   victims, then the pattern of
relative frequency revealed by this table is going to be

Table 3 provides a similar breakdown of hate crimes by
target category in a   major metropolitan centre which has
collected hate crime statistics for some time (New  York
City). As can be seen in this table, the pattern is fairly
similar to that found at  the national level.   Table 4
gives a breakdown of hate crime target categories in New
York city.  This table shows that there is a clear
relationship between the nature of the group  targeted, and
the offence committed. Hate crimes directed against
individuals on the  basis of their race, ethnicity or sexual
orientation are more likely to be crimes against  the person
(e.g., assault). Thus over 40 percent of hate crimes against
these three  target groups were crimes of assault. By
contrast, only six percent of hate crimes  directed against
religious targets were crimes of physical violence. The most
likely  category of hate crime involving a religious target
was mischief, which accounted for  over half the incidents

3.1.2 United Kingdom

The data from the United Kingdom are of particular interest
because they  derive from two sources: a victimization
survey and criminal incidents recorded by the  police. Thus
they include reported as well as unreported incidents. It is
important to  reiterate that the general term "hate crime"
is not used in England and Wales ; the  data pertain only to
racially-motivated crime. British Crime Survey (BCS)

The victimization survey data come from the latest
administration of the British Crime Survey. This is a large
survey of a nationally representative sample of
approximately 10,000 adults in England and Wales which has
been carried out repeatedly since 1982. It includes
victimizations that occurred in the 12 months preceding the
survey, whether they were reported to the police or not (see
Mayhew, Maung and Mirrlees-Black, 1993, for further
information on the BCS). Members of  ethnic minorities were
asked whether or not they thought that an incident had been
racially motivated. Table 5 provides estimates of the
numbers of incidents that respondents perceived to be
racially motivated. Ranges are provided rather than
specific numbers. As can be seen, the BCS data suggest that
over 100,000 racially motivated  crimes occurred in the year
covered by the survey. If a broader definition of hate crime
had been used, one which included crimes such as anti-
semitic incidents,  the totals would obviously have been
higher still.

Table 6 provides a breakdown of the proportion of incidents
reported to the  BCS survey for two minority groups: Afro-
Caribbean and Asian. As can be seen, high  percentages of
certain crimes against these groups were perceived by the
survey respondents to have been racially motivated. For
example, over half the threats  directed at Asian
respondents were perceived by the victim to have been
racially motivated. Almost half the incidents of assault
against Asians, and almost half the incidents of assault
against Afro-Caribbeans were racially-motivated (see Maung
and  Mirrlees-Black, 1994, for further information).

By comparing the BCS data to the number of racially-
motivated crimes  reported to the police, we can see shed
light on the reporting rate of incidents of this crime.
Fitzgerald (1995) reports the number of racial incidents
reported to the police  in England and Wales over the period
1988 to 1992. <13 See Fitzgerald (1995) for discussion of
differences between the increase in racially motivated
crimes in  official statistics versus victimization
surveys.> It is clear that the number of racial incidents
reported to the police in 1992 is a small fraction of the
number of  incidents captured by the British Crime Survey

3.2 Canada

3.2.1 Hate Crime Statistics Recorded by the Police

The collection of hate crime statistics by different police
services across Canada  is sufficiently variable to preclude
an integrated analysis. Accordingly, statistics from  those
forces that participated in this survey and who provided
data to the Department   of Justice Canada will be
summarized and discussed on an individual basis. At the
conclusion of this section some summary statements will be
made. It should be noted  that the police forces represented
here are those that responded with empirical data,
although these data were not always in the form that
permitted detailed secondary  analysis. Some forces have not
yet commenced the collection of hate crime data. The
Ontario Provincial Police, for example, do not collect hate
crime statistics, and there  are no provisions for the
collection of such data in the near future. The reason for
this  appears to be recognition that hate crime is largely
an urban problem in Canada. The   discussion that follows
reflects the information submitted to the Department of
Justice  Canada. The reader should be aware that other
forces may well have similar hate  crime units, although
this was not made known to the Department at the time that
this   survey was conducted. Appendix D contains a list of
contact persons for the Hate  Crime Units in the
organizations contacted for this project.

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