Ottawa police bringing back hate crime unit after increase in reports, community feedback

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly has announced the service is reintroducing a hate crime unit after receiving community feedback and a year-over-year increase in reported incidents.

“We re-evaluated how we accepted hate-motivated incidents from the public and we know that responding to incidents of hate will have a far-reaching impact on the well-being of our communities,” Sloly said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

“We know that hate-motivated crimes are often under-reported. We want people to know that we take such incidents seriously and we are here to help.”

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The announcement comes as officers said the service received 110 reports of hate crime in 2019, which is up from 104 reports in 2018 and 95 reports in 2017.

According to the statement, the service had investigators trained and focused on hate crimes issues. But police said the decision to reintroduce the unit centralizes investigations, adding two officers will be added to the complement to “help identify trends and community safety concerns.”

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“Officers in the hate crime section will monitor and triage all incoming reports to ensure a timely, consistent and effective response to all hate-motivated incidents in the city,” police said.

“The section will focus on the prevention of hate-motivated incidents through public education, outreach, and the development of intelligence to address extremism.”

Police also issued a reminder that reports can be filed on the service’s website, http://www.ottawapolice.ca/onlinereporting.

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