Hamilton

'Hamilton has no place for hate,' says mayor in response to hate crime numbers

High stats may be due to police outreach to encourage reporting, says mayor Fred Eisenberger.

More education around diversity is needed: Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion

Statistics Canada has released numbers that show Hamilton has the highest rate of police-reported hate crime in Canada. (Colin Cote-Paulette)

The city of Hamilton has work to do. That's the message from mayor Fred Eisenberger, in response to numbers released this week by Statistics Canada that show Hamilton has the highest rate of police-reported hate crime in the country. 

"Hamilton has no place for hate." Eisenberger wrote in a statement. "We are committed to being a #HamiltonForAll and ensuring persons affected by hatred can find refuge in our great city."

The statement goes on to say that, "education can reduce harmful stereotypes," and that the city will continue to educate the community on the importance of inclusion.

The statement from the mayor also says education may actually be a factor in the high number of hate crimes that were reported by Hamiltonians — as the Hamilton police service has been working on outreach in the community, to encourage people to report incidents of hate.

This echoes what Det. Paul Corrigan said in an interview earlier this week; that he personally gives about 50 talks a year about the diversity and inclusion in the community.

Some fear hate crimes still under-reported

But Kojo Damptey, the manager of programs for the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion, says that even more education is needed and that as a visible minority he's afraid in this city.

Damptey says incidents of hate or hate crimes are actually under-reported, because people don't like going to the police, or because people think the police won't do anything if they do report.

Both Corrigan and the mayor in his statement encourage Hamiltonians to continue to report incidents of hatred to the Hamilton Police Service at (905) 546-4904.

Fred Eisenberger says that Hamiltonians need to stand up against hatred. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Even if the incident isn't a crime, Corrigan says that the police take note of everything reported, and this can help in the courts, and it helps the police know what is going on in the city

Eisenberger ended his statement by saying, "there is still much for us to do as we reach out to our broader community for appropriate responses to the challenges we all face."

Michelle Shantz, a communications and media relations advisor for the mayor's office, said in an email that the city is waiting for a breakdown from the Hamilton Police Service of "both reported hate incidents and hate crimes in our city."

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