Calgary has the highest rate of hate-motivated crime in the country, according to a new study released by Statistics Canada.

In 2006, 92 hate crimes were reported in Calgary — about nine incidents for every 100,000 people in the city, or three times higher than the national average of three per 100,000, said the agency Monday.

Hate crimes per 100,000 population
 Calgary  9.1
 Kingston, Ont.  8.5
 Ottawa  6.6
 London, Ont.  5.9
 Toronto  5.5
 Source: Statistics Canada 

Calgary was one of five cities that reported data higher than the national average. The other four cities were all in Ontario.

The study pointed out that some cities' numbers could be higher because they have dedicated hate-crimes units or investigators. There is a hate/bias crimes liaison officer in Calgary.

"There can be differences among police services based on specific programs that would target hate crimes: zero tolerance policies among police services, internal protocols encouraging the public to report these types of incidents to the police hotlines," Mia Dauvergne, a senior analyst with Statistics Canada, told CBC News.

"We want more people to come forward to report these, and if it means our numbers are going to show higher than somebody else's, so be it," said Const. Lynn MacDonald of the Calgary force's diversity resources unit.

'We want people to come forward to tell us what's going on out there so we're better able to deal with it.'—Const. Lynn MacDonald, Calgary Police Service

"We can't dictate to other people how they're to report their hate crimes. But we want people to come forward to tell us what's going on out there so we're better able to deal with it."

Hate-motivated cases made up less than one per cent of all criminal incidents reported by police in 2006.

Of the 892 hate crimes reported that year, the majority were motivated by race or ethnicity, said Statistics Canada. About 25 per cent were linked to religion and 10 per cent to sexual orientation.

The study found cases motivated by sexual orientation were more likely to involve violence and physical injury to victims than those driven by race, ethnicity or religion.

Among the 502 incidents motivated by race or ethnicity in 2006, half were targeted at blacks, 13 per cent at South Asians and 12 per cent at Arabs or West Asians.

Young people aged 12 to 17 were more likely than older age groups to be accused of hate crimes.