Canada’s 10 worst cities for hate crime

More details from the latest police reported hate crimes report:

Four out of the 10 Canadian urban areas with the highest hate crime rates are in the Greater Toronto Area or Greater Golden Horseshoe, Statistics Canada data supplied to Maclean’s shows.

Police services covering Hamilton, Peterborough, the York region and Guelph all recorded hate crime rates per 100,000 that put their cities among the top 10 highest in the country in 2017, the most recent year with statistics available. Hamilton, Ont. saw the highest rate of any jurisdiction in the region and the third highest in the country, at 16 incidents per 100,000 people.  

Several GTA/Golden Horseshoe cities were also among the country’s urban areas with the fastest-growing hate crime rates. In 2016, only one GTA/Greater Golden Horseshoe city—Hamilton—made the top 10 for hate-crime rates.

Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, said she wasn’t surprised.

“These are very active areas for the organized far right movement,” Perry said. “Their very visibility and blatancy, I think, over the past couple of years, has contributed to that normalization of hate, that normalization of negative sentiment directed at targeted communities.”

Maclean’s analyzed numbers from police services covering a population of 50,000 people or more in order to avoid large fluctuations in the hate crime rate caused by one or two additional incidents in small towns. The analysis is based on a more detailed version of the annual hate crime data posted publicly by Statistics Canada in late November.

The increases are part of a drastic nation-wide rise in hate crime, with Statistics Canada reporting 47 per cent more incidents from 2016 to 2017. The data captures only hate incidents that were reported to the police.

Statistics Canada did not release data showing the type of incidents or motivations broken down at the police service level. Nation-wide, the government agency reported 38 per cent of hate crimes were violent, with criminals most likely to target Jews, Muslims, Black people and people with marginalized sexual and gender identities.


Police services in the GTA/Greater Golden Horseshoe region contacted by Maclean’sconfirmed that national trends in hate crime motivations were mirrored in their communities. Superintendent Ricky Veerappan, who oversees the York Regional Police’s diversity, equity and inclusion bureau, said the force launched an anti-hate campaign in 2016 in response to rising negative sentiment towards Syrian refugees.

Veerappan said some of the large increase in police-reported hate crimes in the York region might be because of those outreach campaigns, in addition to an increase in the incidents themselves. “People are maybe a little bit more comfortable in connecting with the police, knowing the resources that are available, knowing the numbers to call and knowing members of our diversity unit are very accessible,” he said.

Josh Fraser, public information officer with the Guelph Police Service, said his force also participates in anti-hate public education campaigns. He noted that while Guelph’s hate crime rate of 11.8 incidents per 100,000 people is the eighth highest for any police service covering a population of 50,000 or more, 12 of the city’s 16 incidents were graffiti-related and seven took place on the University of Guelph’s campus.

“The year before it was 10 [incidents],” Fraser said. “I’m not trying to downplay it, but it’s six more. It’s not like it jumped from 50 to 100.”

Perry, the hate crime expert, said it’s important to remember that a handful of additional spray-painted swastikas reported to the police in a city like Guelph likely represents a much larger increase. She said her research and studies conducted by anti-hate groups suggest the true total number of hate crimes in Canada may be five to seven times greater than the official police-reported figure.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “There’s something real going on there.”

Source: Canada’s 10 worst cities for hate crime

Statistics Canada — Police-reported data on hate crime and cybercrime, 2014

Hate Crimes Comparison.002In contrast to previous years, Statistics Canada does not provide a narrative analysis of what the current year reveals.

The chart above provides the data over the 2008-14 period, showing a slightly decreasing trend with respect to ethnicity related hate crimes and a corresponding slight increase in religion-related hate crimes. Overall numbers continue to remain largely flat at 1,295 (itself surprising given continued population growth).

About half are classified as mischief (612), with the remainder largely involving violence or threats of violence.

While Statistics Canada cautions against comparing year-to-year data, these trends over seven years are more reliable. Police-reported hate crime data tends to be more conservative than that collected by community organizations given the higher reporting burden on victims, so these figures likely under-estimate the number.

As is normal, the larger cities report more hate crimes (e.g., the GTA accounts for 26 percent, greater Montreal 8 percent, greater Vancouver 6 percent and Calgary also about 6 percent). On a per capita basis, larger cities tend to have lower rates than smaller centres. The table below lists communities with more than 10 hate crimes reported along with the per 100,000 rate:

cansim-2520091-eng-8622528054705954879_-_Police_Services_with_more_than_5_incidents

The variation in the per capita rate may reflect a variety of factors ranging from greater willingness to report hate crimes, a more aware police force as well as possible underlying differences.

The following chart confirms again that anti-Black hate is the most common form of ethnicity-related hate crimes: about 50 percent.

Hate Crimes Comparison.003

Religion-based hate crimes are captured in the following chart, showing once again that Canadian Jews are the most targeted. However, in 2014, the relative share for Canadian Jews declined from being in the mid-to-high 50 percent range to just under 50 percent, with hate crimes against Canadian Muslims showing significant increases in the last two years, reaching 23 percent of all religious hate crimes in 2014.

Hate Crimes Comparison.004It remains to be seen how the events of 2015 and some of the language used by the previous government in the lead-up to and during the election campaign affects this trend in next year’s report.

Source: The Daily — Police-reported data on hate crime and cybercrime, 2014

2013 Hate Crimes Statistics

Hate Crimes Comparison.001

Interesting that in 2013, the number of hate crimes fell by 17 percent, reflecting a 30 percent decline in non-violent hate crimes (mainly mischief-related). For most groups, the per capita rate remained relatively constant, with the most notable decline with respect to Canadian Jews.

B’nai Brith statistics (2014 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents) however show an increase compared to earlier years (their statistics are always higher than police-reported hate crimes).

The National Council of Canadian Muslims recently launched a similar initiative to report on anti-Muslim incidents (NCCM Launches National Hate Crimes Awareness Project) to encourage more reporting (hate crimes against Canadian Muslims increased in this year).

The explanation for the overall decline in reported hate crimes is not clear beyond that it is the minor hate crimes that account for most of the decline.

While self-reporting by different groups is important to raising awareness of, and improving confidence within groups to report hate crimes to the police, there is merit to the consistent reporting  across different groups and categories contained in this report by Statistics Canada.

Chart of the Day: Hate crimes – Five-Year Trends

Source: StatsCan Police-reported hate crimes in Canada (2008-12)

Source: StatsCan Police-reported hate crimes in Canada (2008-12)

Thanks to New Canadian Media, the Statscan 2012 hate crimes report is getting some attention (reporting Share News):

There were 82 more hate crime incidents in Canada in 2012 than in 2011. Some of the increase is partly due to improvements in reporting by some police services.

The study lists Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Peterborough as having the highest incidents of hate crime in Canada.

And the majority, or 82 per cent of hate crimes, occurred in major cities with Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver leading the way.

Of the hate crimes reported and examined, 75 per cent had been confirmed by police as hate-motivated; and the remaining 25 per cent were recorded as suspected, Statistics Canada said.

Looking at the report, and comparing with the previous four years, some observations:

  • the overall level of hate crimes is remarkably stable (about 1,400 per year);
  • mischief continues to be the most common hate crime;
  • race and ethnicity continue to account for around 50 %;
  • black victims consistently account for about 40 %;
  • Jewish victims range from 53 to 71%, with no trend line ;
  • Muslim victims range between 9 and 15%, similarly with no trend line; and,
  • while victims of hate crimes, save for sexual orientation, are relatively distributed in terms of age, those accused of hate crimes are overwhelmingly young. In both cases, males are predominant.

Some of the disparities in reporting rates (these are police reported hate crimes) reflects the comfort different communities have in reporting to the police.

Muslim hate crimes are likely relatively under-reported given the newness of the community to Canada and likely trust issues with the police.

In contrast,  Canadian Jews are more well established and comfortable reporting to the police, in part given the work of B’nai Brith.

Hate crimes increasing against Blacks and Jews – StatsCan | Share News.

Direct link to the StatsCan report (worth reading):

Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2012