1 min

Bashing everybody but us

Toronto's hate crime unit reports that hate crimes were up 66 percent in 2001

Sep 11’s had a massive impact on the number of hate crimes against visible minorities in Toronto – leaving the queer community relatively unscathed.

“The sense is that because those nasty people have been busy beating up other minorities, they’ve let up on our community,” says Const Judy Nosworthy, police liaison for the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community.

Toronto’s hate crime unit reports that hate crimes were up 66 percent in 2001: 336 incidents compared to 204 in 2000.

Police received 121 reports of hate crimes directly related to the terrorists attacks of Sep 11, which accounts for 90 percent of the total increase.

The unit reports 24 hate crimes directed towards the gay and lesbian community in 2001. That’s up from 18 in 2000. From 2000 to 2001 religious hate crimes jumped to 118 from 35; hate crimes based on nationality jumped from to 35 from nine.

Of the hate crimes against the gay and lesbian community, 13 were assaults, four were acts of mischief, four were acts of criminal harassment, two were threats and one was a robbery. Of the 24 crimes, 19 of the victims were gay males, two were against the “community in general.” One lesbian, one transsexual and one transvestite person were also victims.

Howard Schulman, with the anti-violence program at the 519 Church Street Community Centre, says that their hate crime numbers are usually much higher than the police’s.

“Their numbers are always going to be lower than ours. For example, in 2000 we had 64 reports of bashings or verbal harassment; they only had 18. For 1999, The 519 had 116 reports whereas the Toronto Police Services only had 44.”

Schulman says this primarily has to do with what is defined as a hate crime.

Det James Hogan of the Hate Crime Unit says for a conflict to be classified as a hate crime, it has to have two elements: It has to be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code and the motivation has to be motivated by hate or prejudice towards a group.

The 519’s anti-violence program includes statistics for verbal harassment.

“And as we know, a lot of times people in the queer community aren’t comfortable in reporting to, or going to, the Toronto Police Services,” says Schulman.

While The 519 doesn’t have final hate crime numbers yet, Schulman says there are no dramatic changes from 2000.