Montreal

Montreal sees spike in reported hate crimes, police data reveals

New figures compiled by the Montreal police department show that the number of reported hate crimes in the city are way up compared to last year.

Hate Crimes unit says 101 hate incidents were reported between Jan. 1 and June 1 of this year

The new Montreal police unit dedicated to non-criminal incidents motivated by hate was created in 2016.

New figures compiled by the Montreal police department show that the number of reported hate crimes in the city is way up compared to last year.

In the first half of 2017 — between Jan. 1 and June 1 — police received 101 reports of hate crimes or hate incidents.

That's almost as many as the 137 crimes reported for the entire year of 2016.

Police say it's a plus that more people are reporting incidents.

"People reporting is part of the solution because we can have a portrait of what's going on," said Lieutenant Detective Line Lemay of the Montreal police Hate Crimes unit.

Of the 101 reported incidents so far this year, more than half of them — 57 — were religiously motivated.

Police don't break down which religions were targeted, but Lemay said the Hate Crimes unit saw a big bump in reports after January's Quebec City mosque shooting.

"Not only the Quebec City shooting, but also everything that happened in other countries has a big [effect] on the numbers that are reported."

Another bulk of the complaints, 26 of them, pertained to someone's ethnic origin.
From Jan. 1 to June 1, 2017, Montreal police received 101 reports of hate crimes or hate incidents. (CBC)

Police are encouraging people to call if they believe they're being discriminated against.

"Even if it's not criminal, we do work on these cases…to help prevent things from becoming a crime.

At the Canadian Muslim Forum, staff members say they hear about Muslims being targeted by hate crimes all the time.

"We strongly believe what has been reported is much much less than what is actually happening," said Samer Majzoub, President of the Canadian Muslim Forum. "We believe strongly that this needs a lot of work to be addressed."

Police want people to speak out.

"We really need to have the confidence of the population to be able to work on this problem," Lemay said, adding that the unit will continue to work with organizations across the city and build trust with communities frequently targeted.

With files from CBC's Kate McKenna

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