Hamilton Police Launch Hate Crime Case Review Team

Hamilton Police are working to establish a Hate Crime Case Review Team in response to hate-motivated crimes in Hamilton. Modelled after the Sexual Assault Community Review Team (SACRT), the Hate Crime Case Review Team would partner with local community organizations to review cases, provide recommendations and advise on training.

In 2020, there were a total of 80 hate/bias incidents reported to Hamilton Police. This number represents both suspected hate/bias incidents and criminal offences. Over the past eight years, the average number of reported hate crimes is approximately 121.2 per year.

“We have listened to the community that increasing transparency and opportunities for community engagement is required in rebuilding trust,” said Chief Frank Bergen. “Working alongside the community to identify wraparound approaches will be integral to creating informed solutions.”

Hamilton Police will be reaching out to community organizations to form the Hate Crime Case Review Team. The goal will be to work collaboratively to develop comprehensive recommendations to improve outcomes for hate crime victims. Similar to the SACRT, the scope of the review will include an internal and external analysis of hate crime investigations, as well as looking at policies, procedures, and training. Organizational representatives on the Hate Crime Case Review Team would also have a background in anti-racism, anti-oppression practices.

In an effort to enhance support for victims, the Hate Crime Detective and Victim Services will also initiate contact with a victim following a hate crime report. Victim Services Branch staff will provide emotional support, assist in safety planning, provide community referrals, and guide victims on accessing financial support in some cases. For those unsure about reporting, Victim Services Branch can help victims navigate the reporting process but can provide support regardless if an individual wishes to report.

Reporting hate/bias incidents is an important step in stopping the cycle of hatred and preventing others from being victimized. In 2020, Hamilton Police implemented an additional reporting option to allow individuals to report hate/bias incidents online. This option also provides an opportunity for friends and family to report on a victim’s behalf.

Last year, the majority of reported incidents were directly related to racial bias, followed by religion and sexual orientation. The Black community, the Jewish community and the 2S and LGBTQIA+ community were the groups most frequently victimized.

“Hate crime in Hamilton is not acceptable. Left unchecked, we know hate crime can have a far reaching impact on communities. We must come together and work collaboratively to eliminate hate in our city,” said Bergen.

Hate crimes can be reported online at www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca. Reporting hate/bias incidents can also be reported on the phone at 905-546-4925 or in person at any Hamilton Police station. Organizations interested in participating can contact Community Relations Coordinator Jas Dhillon at 905-546-4910 or [email protected].