Hamilton police aim to head off hate crimes

Police are hosting a meeting at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque with a focus on reducing hate that doesn't reach the level of crime.

Hamilton police are hosting a public meeting Wednesday night aimed at reducing hate-based friction in the community before it turns into crime.

"There are myriad of incidents which touch the lives of Hamiltonians daily that are not criminal yet they are hateful, discriminatory and biased," explained Sandra Wilson, community relations co-ordinator for Hamilton police and moderator of the event. 

"While not criminal [these events] still leave an indelible mark on individuals who are victims or targets of these actions."

Since police can only charge individuals who commit crimes, it's up to the community to band together against instances of hate that are more subtle. That's what police are hoping to launch through the public discussion.

The open dialogue will feature speakers that represent various cultural and religious communities across the city, including Aboriginal Elder Walter Cooke, Ali Ghouse of the Muslim Association of Hamilton, and police chief Glenn De Caire.

"Lots of wonderful people are committed to making a difference in closing these gaps which exist across differences," Wilson said.

"The event on Wednesday provides a forum to listen to each other, learn and grow, as well as becoming motivated and reenergized to continue the necessary work of making a difference on this front."  

The event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque, 1545 Stonechurch Rd. E. It is free of charge and all are invited to attend.