Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jews second most targeted for hate crimes in Canada.

TORONTO — A survey of police-reported hate crimes released recently by Statistics Canada showed that in 2006, Jews were Canada’s most targeted group by religion and second only to blacks as the most victimized group overall.

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Of 220 hate crimes motivated by the victim’s religion, 137 were aimed at Jews, or almost 63%. Muslims were the next most affected religious group, with 46 incidents (21%) reported, followed by Catholics, who experienced 13 incidents (6%).

Overall, blacks were the most targeted group, whether considered on racial, ethnic, gender or religious bases. Some 238 hate events were reported involving blacks out of a total of 892 incidents. Blacks were victims in 27% of all occurrences, Jews in 15%.

The data were obtained from the Hate Crime Supplemental Survey, a study of hate crimes reported by police departments across Canada that cover 87 percent of Canada’s population. Statistics Canada reported that the number of hate crimes “accounted for less than one per cent of all criminal incidents reported to police.”

The study showed that half of all hate-motivated crime concerned property offences, while one-third involved violence. The highest rates of police-reported hate crime were in Calgary (9.1 per 100,000 residents), Kingston (8.5), Ottawa (6.6), London (5.9) and Toronto (5.5). “Hate crimes were most likely to involve young people, both as victims and accused persons,” the report stated.

Most violent hate crimes are committed by strangers rather than persons known to victims. In 2006, 77 percent of victims of police-reported hate crime did not know their perpetrators, compared to 33 percent of victims of other violent crimes.”

The national hate-motivated crimes statistics parallel findings by the hate crimes unit of the Toronto Police Service. In its 2006 report, the unit found that Jews were the second most victimized group, behind blacks.

Twenty-eight of 162 incidents were aimed at Jews (17%), while 15 incidents (9%) targeted Muslims. Blacks were singled out in 30 per cent of occurrences.

Const. Wendy Drummond, a spokesperson for the Toronto Police, said the most recent data for 2007 again showed that Jews were the second most targeted group, behind blacks. Altogether, Jews were affected in 29 percent of incidents, while blacks were targeted in 33 per cent of events. Gays were next at 13 percent, followed by Muslims and Pakistanis at 9 percent each.

Police also recorded a “multi-bias” category – where the motivation involved more than one type of animus, such as a black and gay – in which Jews were the second-most-targeted group, she said.

Wendy Lampert, national director of community relations for Canadian Jewish Congress, said the findings are consistent with long-standing patterns.

Historically, we have been targeted,” she said. “We really have to remain vigilant as a community and take appropriate measures to secure our facilities going forward.”

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