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Police-reported hate crimes decrease 18 percent in Canada

Statistics Canada [official website] reported [text, PDF] Thursday that both the number and rate of police-reported hate crimes declined in 2010 by 18 percent from the previous year [materials]. While the report made clear that "police-reported data likely undercount the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all incidents come to the attention of police," the new statistics were welcomed "[a]fter two consecutive years of increase." Of the country's 1,401 hate crimes [JURIST news archive] reported to police in 2010, 95 percent were found to be motivated by race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Significantly, the reported crimes [press release, PDF] stemming from race or ethnicity decreased by 20 percent while those motivated by religion decreased by 17 percent. More than half of all reported hate crimes, however, were found to be motivated by race. The agency also reported a decrease in violent hate crimes, as one in three hate crimes was likely to be violent. Sexual orientation hate crimes, though, remain an area in need of improvement, as two-thirds of the 218 crimes were reported to be violent. Statistics Canada also reported that the least amount of hate crimes in 2010 occurred in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador with only one incident per 100,000 people, while the most amount occurred in Ontario with 5.7 incidents per 100,000 people [official websites].

Canada Statistics has been issuing a national report on hate crime annually since 2006, and covers 99 percent of Canada's population. The country saw some of its steepest increases in police-reported hate crime in 2008 [JURIST report], up 35 percent from 2007. Like today, race, religion, and sexual orientation were found to be the major motivations of these crimes, and roughly 75 percent of sexual orientation crimes were reported to be violent.

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