Website to keep tabs on incidents involving hate in Alberta
'Often times when something isn't classified as a hate crime, ... it often goes undocumented'
The Alberta Hate Crime Committee has launched a website where Albertans can report "hate incidents" that might not be considered crimes, but result in similar consequences for those targeted.
"Often times when something isn't classified as a hate crime, still something happened that impacted the community, but because there's no criminal element involved, it often goes undocumented and, as a result, that really doesn't give a clear picture around what's going on in the province," said committee member Irfan Chaudhry Monday.
The new online tool, stophateab.ca will allow the committee to monitor trends, improve education, create intelligence-led community engagement and create a "heat map" to visually display online where the incidents occur.
"That's where folks can realize this isn't just an issue that's happening elsewhere, it's not just happening in the (United) States, it's happening in our own province," Chaudhry said.
"And I think, because often times when it goes undocumented, we give the impression or we have the assumption that it's really not an issue."
Complainants can suggest solutions
The process is simple. Users anonymously fill out a short form on the website with information such as the type of incident, location and motive.
Incidents recorded include vandalism, slur, threat and graffiti in regards to sexual orientation, race, disability or other issues.
Reporters will also have the option of suggesting how the incident should be handled and whether they want to be contacted by the committee.
Last August, Jesse and Julia Lipscombe and Mayor Don Iveson launched the #MakeItAwkward campaign after Jesse recorded a passerby yelling racial slurs at him. The video he posted went viral.
The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council says it has seen a spike in calls, since launching a toll-free hotline last year to report incidents of Islamophobia.
Chaudhry emphasized that it's still important for Albertans to continue reporting hate crimes and incidents to police.
He noted there are also other initiatives and spaces where like-minded people can connect with others on anti-racism efforts including the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights and Make It Awkward Facebook page.