Education best way to combat hate crimes, experts say
Police still searching for man accused of threatening woman because she is Jewish
As police search for a man accused of threatening a Jewish Calgary mother, human rights experts say education is the key to fighting hate crimes.
Police are trying to track down a 23-year-old man who allegedly made threats against the woman last September in northwest Calgary because of her religion.
Calgary Jewish Federation executive director Judy Shapiro said it's a sad reality that minorities are sometimes the victims of hate crimes.
And while all Calgarians need to be aware and vigilant, they shouldn't feel afraid - especially if they understand where the hate comes from, she said.
"To teach young people the dangers of racism, where it can lead, and to reinforce the importance of not being a bystander, to standing up for what's right," she said.
Shapiro estimates her organization has educated more than 50,000 high school students on the issue over the last 30 years.
There are about 60 hate crimes reported here each year in the province, but only 10 per cent of the perpetrators get caught, said Doug Jones, vice-president of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee.
The committee works with Calgary Police Services and other groups to support victims and to educate the public, Jones said.
"We all have a responsibility to step up and provide support and try to do whatever we can to promote diversity and accept all cultures and religions," he said.
Const. Eric Levesque, hate crimes coordinator for the Calgary Police Service’s diversity resources team, said it’s unfortunate that only about 10 to 30 per cent of hate crime victims report the incidents.
"So that’s always the challenge for us to build the trust within the community and have people come forward," he said.
"If they don’t come forward then we can’t deal with the issue."
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of suspect Dylan Jamison Shaughnessy should call Crime Stoppers, police said.