Last week, Statistics Canada revealed that the amount of police-reported hate crimes spiked by 47% in 2017. Police received 2,073 hate crime reports within the year, targeting mainly Black, Jewish and Muslim communities and individuals. Now, we know exactly where those hate crimes are occurring the most in Canada. Ontario alone is home to the top three worst cities for hate crime, Hamilton being one of them.
According to Maclean's, police forces in Hamilton, Peterborough, the York region and Guelph recorded hate crimes per 100,000 residents in their regions. Hamilton saw the highest rate of any, and ranked as the third worst city in Canada for hate crime.
An expert in hate crime tells Maclean's that Hamilton is a hotspot for organized far-right groups. "Their very visibility and blatancy, I think, over the past couple of years, has contributed to that normalization of hate, that normalization of negative sentiment directed at targeted communities," she says.
Thunder Bay, Ontario took the number one spot. Police-reported hate crimes in Thunder Bay rose by 18.1% in 2017 compared to 2016, which only saw an increase of 8.6%. In second place is Sarnia, Ontario, which saw a 16.1% increase in 2017. Following Hamilton is Quebec City and Montreal.
Here's the complete top 10 list of the worst hate crime cities in Canada, and the increase in reported hate crime incidents per 100,000.
According to Stats Canada, police-reported hate crimes in Ontario rose by 47% from 2016 to 2017, which translates to 411 more hate crime incidents than the year before. Ontario's total hate crime count for 2017 was 1,023.
The hate crime expert told Maclean's that she predicts the number of hate crimes in Canada to be up to seven times higher than the police-reported numbers. Things like spray-painted swastikas and offensive graffiti is still considered a hate crime, and represents "the tip of the iceberg" of a very serious, underlying issue.