Hamilton police are making it easier for residents to report hate/bias incidents.
The service has enhanced the online reporting section of its website so that people can report incidents without having to visit a police station.
Deputy Chief Frank Bergen notes that hate crimes are generally underreported and says police have heard “loud and clear that people need a way to report incidents to police in a manner that is comfortable for them.”
Bergen says the move is about providing another layer of assurance to the community that “we’re open, we’re transparent, we need the information.”
The online reporting option also lets friends and family report on behalf of a victim.
The Hamilton Centre For Civic Inclusion’s interim executive director, Kojo Damptey, says we’ll have wait and see how online reporting impacts people affected by hate in Hamilton.
Damptey says complainants also need to see action that shows they are being taken seriously, because too often “these incidents don’t lead to charges or even if they do, they don’t change the mindset of how people interact with racialized communities, members of different religious groups and members of the 2+ LGBTQ community.”
Bergen says there were 92 suspected hate/bias incidents and criminal offences reported to Hamilton police in 2019.
That is down compared to 125 crimes and incidents in 2018.
The new hate/bias reporting tool is available at http://www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca. Hate/bias incidents can also be reported on the phone at 905-546-4925 or in person at any Hamilton police station.
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