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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/canada/justice/disproportionate-harm/dh-003-03

Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canada/justice/disproportionate-harm/dh-003-03
Last-Modified: 1997/01/14
Source: Department of Justice Canada Ottawa

 The Ottawa Police Service has perhaps the most organized
bias crime unit in  the country. The unit evolved out of
sustained liaison with the community of Ottawa.  The
experience in Ottawa shows that the police-community
partnership is a critical  way of responding to the special
problems created by hate crimes. The Ottawa Unit is unique
in other respects too. As a recent publication notes:

     What makes the [Ottawa Carleton Regional Police Bias
     Crime] Unit different is that there is a legitimate
     investigative function.  In addition, the Unit has an
     intelligence and educational  component. We believe
     that all three are necessary in order to properly
     address the concern of bias motivated crimes (Ottawa
     Police Service, 1994: 1).

The Ottawa Carleton Regional Police Bias Crime Unit was
established in January 1993. Modelled on the Boston Police
Department's Community Disorders Unit, it reflects a grass-
roots approach to the problem hate crimes which stresses the
importance of consultation with community groups. The unit
is comprised of two  investigators and a sergeant. In
addition to its investigative function, the Unit is also
very active in community education. Members of the Unit
deliver lectures to  community groups, minority groups as
well as the news media.

The Ottawa Police Service submission to the Department of
Justice Canada  request contains hate crime statistics for a
two-year period from January 1993 to  December 1994. In
1993, there were 176 hate crime incidents recorded by the
Ottawa Police Bias Crime Unit. This rose to 211 in 1994.
Over the two-year period covered  by the data, there were
387 cases. Consistent with the trends in Toronto and
Montreal,  Table 12 shows that the most frequent targets of
hate crimes in Ottawa were racial  minorities, followed by
religious groups. Table 13 shows that Blacks are the most
frequently targeted racial group. Anti-semitic incidents
accounted for almost all (87  percent) of the religious
category. Of the 45 incidents directed at individuals on
account of their sexual orientation, 93 percent were
directed at males, 7 percent at females.

It is clear that the interaction between the nature of the
crime and the nature of  the target group is replicated in
the Ottawa statistics. That is, the vast majority of hate
crimes directed against racial minorities involved violence
or the threat of violence. Cases of vandalism against this
target group accounted for a small percentage of incidents.
Anti-semitic hate crimes on the other hand were far more
likely to involve mischief or vandalism. Ontario Provincial Police

While it is anticipated that such information may be
required in the future, at the present time the O.P.P. have
not yet begun to collect hate crime statistics. It is worth
noting however that a guidelines exist for the
investigation of hate-motivated crime. These guidelines
include an explanatory description of hate crimes, along
with explicit criteria for identifying hate-motivated
incidents. Surete du Quebec

Since hate crimes are concentrated in urban centres (in
Canada at least), this organization has no statistical data
relating to such offences. City of Halifax Police Department

Collection of statistics relating to hate crimes began in
January 1994. The Halifax Police Department has taken steps
to ensure that all members of the force are  aware of the
existence of hate crimes. The Halifax Police Department has
appointed a  Race Relations Coordinator, with a mandate to
raise and promote awareness both in the community and the
force itself, of the problem of hate crimes. This police
department recorded only three hate crime incidents over
the most recent period for  which data are available
(January to October, 1994). Edmonton Police Service

The Edmonton Police Service has been involved in
identifying and collecting  statistics on Bias Motivated
Crimes since September 1994. Since that time, all members
of the force have been trained in responding to incidents
of hate-motivated crime. This police service recorded three
incidents of hate crimes for the period September to
November 1994. Two of these were directed against racial
minorities, the third was an incident of anti-semitism. Other Police Agencies

Finally, it is worth noting that some police agencies (such
as the Vancouver Police) have a hate crime policy in
practice, and also record hate crimes, although they  did
not participate in the survey which gave rise to this

3.2.2 Aggregate Trends

Since there is considerable variability in terms of the
targets selected in  different parts of the country, Table
15 provides a breakdown of target categories for all
reported incidents combined. These percentages are weighted
to reflect the different rates of reporting, and do not
include the B'nai Brith data or incidents of  crimes
against gays or lesbians (which will be discussed later in
this report). As can be seen, 61 percent of the almost
1,000 hate crime incidents recorded by the police were
directed at racial minorities. The next most frequent
category was religious  groups, (almost all anti-semitic
incidents), followed by sexual orientation and ethnic
origin. This table also presents a breakdown of hate crime
targets from the United  States. It is interesting to note
that the pattern of victimization is very similar in the
two countries: racial minorities account for almost two-
thirds of all incidents recorded  by the police.

Following analyses used in other countries, it is possible
to generate an estimate of the number of hate crimes that
occur in Canada on an annual basis. Such an  estimate will
of course be highly speculative. Nevertheless, using the
Ottawa police statistics as a basis, we can perform some
extrapolations. There is no reason to suppose that Ottawa
has a higher than average incidence of hate crimes. Indeed,
the relatively small percentage of non-white residents
(compared to Toronto for example) suggests that a broader
estimate of the number of hate crimes based on the Ottawa
statistics is likely to underestimate the magnitude of the

Since hate crime is largely (although not necessarily
exclusively) an urban  phenomenon, we shall restrict the
analysis to the following major urban centres:  Halifax;
Montreal; Ottawa; Toronto; Winnipeg; Regina; Calgary;
Edmonton, Vancouver. The analysis that follows draws upon
recently published crime statistics for these cities (see
Hendrick, 1995). The data are drawn from 1994. In that
year, the police in Ottawa recorded 211 hate crimes. If we
assume a reporting rate of one third, this means that 633
verified (i.e., founded) incidents occurred in that year.
Since Ottawa accounts for 7 percent of the total Criminal
Code infractions for this group of urban centres, an
estimate of the total number of hate crimes committed in
these cities would be slightly under 60,000 (59,502). Such
an estimate is not out of line with  other countries. It
will be recalled that it was estimated that there were over
100,000 racially-motivated crimes in the United Kingdom,
and this estimate was based on a single form of hate crime.
If a lower reporting rate was used in the calculation, the
total number of estimated incidents would obviously be
higher. The accuracy of an estimate of this kind remains to
be verified by future research drawing upon victimization
surveys. However accurate it turns out to be, one trend is
clear: using  police statistics as the sole index of hate
crime activity is going to seriously underestimate the
magnitude of the problem across the country.

As noted in the introduction, hate crimes are among the
most under-reported offences. This means that an
examination of hate crimes derived from the criminal
justice system (i.e., incidents recorded by the police)
would seriously underestimate the  prevalence of these
incidents, as well as distort the nature of the problem.
For this reason, at this point we turn to hate crime
statistics derived from two sources outside  the criminal
justice system. These two sources were selected because
they represent  the groups most often affected by hate.

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