Hate crimes drop in Canada for first time in years

A far-right protest was held in May to oppose Canadian migration policyImage copyright
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A far-right protest was held in May to oppose Canadian migration policy

Hate crimes in Canada have gone down for the first time in five years, police and government data shows.

There were 1,798 hate crimes reported to police in 2018, down from 2,073 in 2017, according to new data from Statistics Canada, a government agency.

The decrease was mostly due to a large decline in crimes against Muslims, the federal data agency reported on Monday.

But advocates warn the numbers fail to tell the whole story, as many hate crimes are not reported to police.

The last calendar year had the second-highest number of reported hate crimes since 2009, only beaten by 2017.

Hate crimes targeting race and ethnicity accounted for 43% of all hate crimes, followed by those targeting religion, which accounted for 36% of all hate crimes.

Deadly shootings at synagogues in San Diego and Pittsburgh in the US, and at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, have put a spotlight on the reported rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia around the world.

More on hate crimes

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Crimes against Jews in Canada rose by 63% between 2016 and 2017, but declined by 4% in 2018.

Hate crimes against Muslims had a similar rise between 2016 and 2017, but in 2018, they declined by 50%.

The decline in hate crimes against Muslims accounts for almost two-thirds of the overall decline in hate crimes between 2017-2018.

Anti-hate advocates warn to take these numbers with a grain of salt, since many hate crimes are not reported to police.

“We have to also be sceptical of the data given that police-reported hate crime statistics have many serious methodological flaws,” tweeted the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.