Crime Stoppers in the Thunder Bay district will launch a new program in May to raise awareness about hate crimes.

Thunder Bay Police Constable Julie Tilbury said a marketing campaign will encourage people to report this type of crime.

"We are trying to get a really strong message out to our community about what hate bias motivated crimes are," she said. "They are unacceptable, and ... if anybody sees this happening [they should] call Crime Stoppers so we can get these investigated."

Tilbury said any type of action against people "based on their religion, sexual orientation, their race, gender, age, anything like that ... can be construed as a hate bias motivated crime if it fits the definition."

She added the program will focus on youth, with presentations to high school students beginning this fall.

"Most people that are involved in hate-motivated crimes are young adults and teenagers," Tilbury said. "So, we're hoping that if we can target that audience with our messaging ... we'll be able to hopefully educate and stop long-term behaviours."