New report ranks Halifax sixth in Canada for hate-crime rate

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HALIFAX - A new report from Statistics Canada suggests the number of hate crimes in Halifax more than doubled from 2010 to 2011, ranking HRM sixth on a list of 30 Canadian cities.

The article Police-reported hate crime in Canada suggests there were 10 hate crimes in HRM in 2010 and 24 in 2011, for a rate of 5.9 per 100,000 population.

The number of reported incidents in Canada fell by five per cent.

The pastor of a north-end Baptist church that was vandalized with racist graffiti in the last year said the ranking isn’t a surprise, in some ways.

“We have a perception…that racism no longer happens, that people’s attitudes have changed,” said Rev. Rhonda Britton, who leads the annual International Church Service for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. “But … this stuff continues to happen.”

According to Halifax Regional Police, 19 of the reported crimes involved racial discrimination and four targeted the victim’s sexual orientation.

Twenty-one of the crimes in Halifax in 2011 were categorized as mischief, with two assaults and one indecent phone call.

The Statistics Canada report states 88 per cent of the people accused of hate crimes Canada in 2011 were male, and 60 per cent were under the age of 25.

Britton said there’s no easy solution to eliminating prejudice of any kind, but said adults should be aware of how children mimic words and actions.

“Enough conversation happens in the home that it’s fostering these negative messages,” she said. “Children are getting that this is the way you treat people or think about certain segments of people. They learn it.”

Organizations: Baptist church, International Church Service for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Halifax

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