Police chief flags ‘significant increase’ in hate crimes in Hamilton

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Published July 12, 2023 at 4:33 pm

SCREENGRAB FROM HAMILTON POLICE SERVICE VIA TWITTER
SCREENGRAB FROM HAMILTON POLICE SERVICE VIA TWITTER

Hamilton Police Chief Frank Bergen says it’s “concerning” that there has been a “significant increase” in hate crimes in the city and throughout Canada over the past several months.

He called on people to report hate incidents.

“As chief of police, I want our community to know there is no place for hate in Hamilton,” he said in a video posted on the Hamilton police’s Twitter account today (July 12). “We take these incidents seriously and our hate crime unit investigates each occurrence thoroughly.”

In the video, Bergen underscored his support for 2S&LGBTQIA communities, who he said were targeted recently.

“Last month in Hamilton, the 2S&LGBTQIA communities suffered a significant increase in hate occurrences,” he said. “I want the 2S&LGBTQIA communities and all communities to know that you are supported. It takes each of us in our community to address hate.”

He did not provide specific details about incidents or statistics in the video.

“Hate-motivated incidents have a deep impact not only on the victims, but on all of us,” Bergen said. “Whether you witness a hate incident or experience it personally, we encourage everyone to continue to report hate,” Bergen said. “As a community, we must come together in support of creating safe spaces and a sense of belonging for all Hamiltonians.”

Const. Krista-Lee Ernst, Hamilton police spokesperson, said hate crime statistics are released to the public annually.

In 2022, 174 hate or bias incidents were reported to Hamilton police. It was up 61 per cent from 2021, which had 108 incidents. Police said most incidents are not reported so the true number is probably higher. For the 2022 cases, Black people, Jews and 2SLGBTQIA+ community were the main targets.

“These are reported Hate incidents and are being seen across the country. This can also be due to more victims bravely coming forward to report,” Const. Ernst said in an email to inthehammer.com. “Hamilton Police want to commend the public for reporting these crimes and encourage everyone to report. It is important for our community to be provided information on how to report often.”

Police said people can report hate incidents the following ways:

  • By phone: If it’s an emergency or crime in progress, call 911.
    For non-emergencies, call 905-546-4925
  • Website: www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca
  • In person:
    Central Station
    155 King Wiliam Street
    East End Station
    2825 King Street East
    Mountain Station
    400 Rymal Road East

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