Hate crimes continue to rise in Burlington, Oakville, Milton according to police report

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Published February 24, 2023 at 2:08 pm

There were more hate crimes in Burlington, Milton, Oakville and Halton Hills last year, according to a recent report to the Halton Police Services Board.

According to the report, presented earlier this week, Halton Region experienced 78 reported hate related-occurrences in 2022, the most in a single year dating back to at least 2012.

In 2021, there were 64 such incidents, 66 in 2020. Prior to that, hate crimes had generally been on a decline, from 50 in 2012 to just 25 in 2019.

Further breaking down the 2022 occurrences, 31 were identified as being a hate/bias incident and seven were categorized as a suspected hate crime.

Property damage/vandalism accounts for the largest share of hate crimes, with 29 occurrences being reported in 2022. The majority of them dealt with hate-related slurs or symbols being spray painted, written or scratched on public and private property.

The largest share of occurrences classified as a hate/bias incident stemmed from racial and ethnic rhetoric communicated through social media or in person conflict situations, according to the report.

By municipality, 33 of the total incidents occurred in Oakville, 22 in Burlington, 17 in Milton and 6 in Halton Hills.

“The majority of all reported hate related occurrences were random in nature, had no definable pattern, and were believed to being committed by individuals and not by organized groups,” said the report.

“These impact factors, combined with a lack of eyewitnesses as well as a lack of physical evidence, makes the investigation into hate related occurrences challenging in nature. Only 21 of the 78 occurrences, 27 per cent, resulted in the parties responsible being identified and the occurrence being cleared.”

According to the report, Halton police are committed to addressing the issue of hate related occurrences through a holistic approach that utilizes all four levels of intervention: social development; prevention; risk intervention; and incident response.

“Effectively responding to hate related occurrences is a top priority for our police service. All reported hate incidents are monitored by a regional coordinator who works in our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office.”

In 2022, the force continued its commitment to respond to hate related occurrences by making several enhancements and additions to its anti-hate programming. This included providing additional training for members, expanding outreach efforts and undertaking consultations for the purpose of better meeting the needs of the community across Halton.

To view the full report, visit here.

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