Hate Crime Prevention Team
Generally, the use of the term “hate crime” refers to a crime motivated by hatred. Hate-motivated crimes are recognizable crimes, like assault, theft, vandalism, or any other crime, where the offender’s actions were motivated by hate, bias, or prejudice towards one or more of the victim’s personal characteristics.
A hate incident is an occurrence where a person displays their hate or bias towards a person or group identifiable by their personal characteristic (such as race, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, etc.), but the act does not meet the threshold of a criminal offence. This is also referred to as an “incident motivated by hate.”
The Criminal Code of Canada contains several specific sections and subsections covering offences related to hate propaganda (public incitement of hatred, willful promotion of hatred, advocating genocide, hate propaganda, willful promotion of antisemitism), and hate-motivated mischief against certain types of property.
Reporting hate crimes
Research indicates hate motivated incidents are underreported to police. Many victims of hate-motivated crimes do not report their victimization to the police for a variety of reasons, including fear or mistrust of police, fear of retaliation, language or cultural barriers, or a perception of the importance of the incident.
If you are a victim of a hate-motivated crime, or have witnessed a hate-motivated crime, please report it to police. It is crucial to the safety of all citizens that every incident of hate is investigated. This also reinforces our stance that hate will not be tolerated in Calgary communities.
Be an active witness. Silence or non-action are often perceived as condoning acts of hate or discrimination. When you observe a hate or bias incident or crime, if it is safe to do so, record pictures or video of the event with your cellphone. Take notes of when it occurred (date and time), and what exactly was said and done; describe the offenders (age, height, weight, clothing worn, distinguishing features such as tattoos) and provide the information to police.
Although many citizens might not agree with the viewpoints of certain groups who openly gather to voice their ideas, Canada is a free and democratic society that provides fundamental freedoms to all its citizens.
The Calgary Police Service must balance the requirement to enforce Canadian laws with the duty to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Canadians. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
Freedom of conscience and religion
Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press
Freedom of peaceful assembly
Freedom of association
The Charter states that individuals have the freedom to their own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions and can express those openly. The only time the police would infringe on that right is when the law is broken.
Hate incidents can be reported to police via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be reported to the Alberta Human Rights Commission through their confidential inquiry line at 403-297-6571, or to the Alberta Hate Crime Committee at #STOPHATEAB website.
If you're witnessing a crime in progress or are involved in an emergency, call 9-1-1.
If you would like to report a crime but are not presently in danger, call the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.