CCAR AND THE HATE CRIME STATISTICS
During the year 2001, members of CCAR met with Police Chief Ken Robertson on several occasions. (Please see the section on the non-Ebola scare.) These meetings were facilitated by the-then civilian officer in charge of Community Relations, Jane Mulkewich.
Members of CCAR were concerned by the growing boldness of the white supremacist Heritage Front at the time and the resultant increase in hate crimes. Thanks to the help of Ms. Mulkewich, the Hamilton Police Service Board decided for the first time to release the hate crimes statistics to the public on an annual basis. Police Chief Robertson chose CCAR as the community organization to which to release the stats. It has now become a tradition for the Board to release the figures to the public first through CCAR. And so this year, the statistics for 2002 were released to the public at CCAR’s Annual General Meeting on January 29, 2003.
Here are some highlights:
- For the three months following Sept 11, 2001, the rate of reported hate crimes in Hamilton increased sixfold.
- For 2002, the rate of hate crimes remained high (98), almost double the rate for 2000 (though the format of reporting is slightly different.)
- Police estimate that only one in ten hate crimes are reported.
- The group against whom the most hate crimes are committed is consistently the black community.
CCAR strongly encourages everyone who is subject to a hate crime or who witnesses one to call 911 at once to report it. Unless hate crimes are reported, certain political leaders will try to deny that racism exists in our community and will try to deny the community the resources to fight it. After Sept 11, 2001, the police responded to pressure from CCAR and other sections of the community to increase the hate crimes unit from one part-time officer to five full-time officers. Currently in February 2003, only one officer is dedicated to this work full-time. However, the police have promised to be flexible and to increase the size of this unit should events (like an attack on Iraq) warrant it.
Hate crimes are usually committed by strangers to the victim. For this reason, the police do not have a high rate of success in bringing perpetrators to justice. For instance, no one has yet been charged in the spectacular cases of the arson at the Hindu Samaj Temple, the assault at the Corktown Tavern, or the disturbances at the Hamilton Mosque (immediately after September 1, 2001.) For this reason, CCAR is soliciting funding from various sources to try to establish one or more $1000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone committing a hate crime in Hamilton.