Alberta Hate Crime Awareness Day is an annual community event sponsored by the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee...Continue Reading
The fifth annual Hate Crime Awareness Day was a great success, taking place in Edmonton, Lethbridge and Calgary. As in the previous years, the event was during the week of the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week sponsored by the Federal Department of Justice. This year’s theme was "Taking Action".
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What is a Hate Crime?
The Alberta Hate Crimes Committee defines a hate crime as:
A hate crime is any criminal offence committed against a person or property, which is motivated in whole or in part by the suspects’ hate, prejudice, or bias against an individual or identifiable group based on real or perceived race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor.
Hate crime examples:
- Distribution of hate propaganda
- Uttering threats
Hate crimes often include physical assaults, graffiti, vandalism, threatening phone calls or electronic communication, fire-bombing, and destruction of religious property.
What is a Hate Incident?
A hate incident is an act motivated by hate or bias that are not criminal in nature, but cause serious harm to individuals and communities. Incidents can lead to violent or criminal behavior.
Hate incident examples:
- Bullying motivated by hate, bias or prejudice
- Saying racial or homophobic slurs or name-calling
- Distribution of prejudicial material promoting hate such as hate flyers
- Racist or offensive emails, jokes or other prejudicial actions
Reporting hate incidents are another vital tool in combating hate. When in doubt, report all incidents to law enforcement authorities.
How Are Hate Crimes Different From Other Crimes?
- Hate crimes are “message crimes” designed to instill fear and terror in an entire community
- Only 1 in 10 hate crimes are ever reported to law enforcement officials
- Hate crimes enhance feelings of victimization, vulnerability and fear
- May promote community reactive crime (e.g., Vigilantism)
- Can lead to copycat incidents
- Hate crimes can polarize communities and prevent them from supporting each other
- May enhance loss of trust and/or fear in law enforcement
- Heighten security concerns at schools, home or places of worship