Reform urged for growing problem
An organization that represents community groups and law enforcement officials is demanding that the province take a tougher stance against hate crimes.
The report, released yesterday by the Alberta Hate Bias Crime Committee, says police and Crown prosecutors are not able to keep pace with the number of incidents and increasing complexities of hate and bias crimes.
About one in every ten hate crimes are reported to police and there are not enough resources to deal with the major problem across the province, says the report.
"We want a system in the province that takes a standardized and constant approach to hate crimes right across the province," said city police Sgt. Steve Camp, a co-chairman of the committee. "It’s a bit of a mess right now."
Camp says cities like Edmonton and Calgary don’t have an appropriate level of resources to tackle the problem of hate crime, but that isn’t the case in rural towns like Brooks or Camrose.
With forming an Alberta Hate Crime Team that will be centralized in six locations across the province, under the watch of the Solicitor General, hate crimes can be addressed in any community, suggested the committee.
Andy Weiler, a spokesman with the Solicitor General Department, says the new report won’t be accepted since police already do a good job at tackling the problem.
"We have no plans at establishing an integrated team since police already do a good job at investigating hate and bias crime," he said. "They are committed to working in their communities."
The report also recommended the creation of an Alberta hate crime advisory committee and the idea of creating an awareness ad campaign.