Hamilton police launch new platform for reporting hate crimes online
Service heard 'loud and clear' that people want a way to report without visiting a station
"You belong here, hate doesn't."
That's the message Hamilton police are sharing as they launch a beefed-up platform for reporting hate and bias incidents online.
"Hate crime in Hamilton is not acceptable. Left unchecked, we know hate crime can have a far reaching impact on communities," stated Deputy Chief Frank Bergen in a media release.
"This new online reporting system is a way anyone can report a hate/bias incident and ensure appropriate resources are assigned to make our community safer."
A total of 92 hate and bias incidents — including both suspect occurrences and criminal offences — were reported to police last year, according to the service.
Most of those incidents were related to religion, racial bias or sexual orientation.
Police say the Black, Jewish and LGBTQ communities were the groups that were targeted most frequently.
Over the past decade the number of reported hate crimes has averaged about 128.4 a year.
"We know hate crimes are generally under reported," said Bergen in the release. "And we've heard loud and clear that people need a way to report incidents to police in a manner that is comfortable for them, without having to visit a police station."
The new tool will offer people a way to report incidents from home, say police. It also allows for friends and family members to report on someone else's behalf.
The page links to a form where someone can describe what occurred as well as information on hate crimes and answers to some frequently asked questions.
Victims can also report occurrences by calling 905-546-4925 or in person at any Hamilton police station.