Most bias crimes go unreported: Study
Hate and bias crimes are still predominant in Canadian cities — like Calgary — but far too often it goes unreported, according to findings released yesterday.
A 75-page report from Kanata Intercultural Consulting identified several key areas that need to be addressed in the prevention of hate crimes in Alberta, and many are centred on raising awareness and solving issues at the grassroots level.
One startling finding in the report was roughly 90 per cent of hate crimes go unreported.
“In our community, silence is consent,” said Gary Martin, president of the African-Caribbean United Foundation of Alberta.
He said by bringing awareness to behaviours that aren’t accepted, you stop racism and hate crimes in their tracks.
“When people don’t make a good stand then people think it’s OK to continue behaving that way.”
Martin, whose group works with youth at risk, faces the hate and bias issue regularly. He said the only way to tackle the problem is to get communities involved — from the individuals involved to the leaders, and the city.
“We’ve been knocking down a lot of doors by sitting down and having face-to-face meetings about what these problems are,” said Martin.
The report suggested the creation of an Alberta Hate Crimes Team, along with an advisory committee to work hand-in-hand with a public awareness program aimed at rooting out hate and bias crimes.
These groups would focus on responding to and tracking hate crimes, along with working on the prevention, detection and prosecution of these incidents.
City aldermen Joe Ceci and Diane Colley-Urquhart heralded the work done on the report.
“It’s an important report that has come forward at an important time in the history of the province of Alberta,” said Colley-Urquhart.