Vancouver Police are advising the public that while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, hate-related incidents are still occurring at a higher than normal rate, including those targeting Vancouver’s Asian communities. This year, VPD has identified 155 hate-associated reports. This is up from 69 hate-associated reports for the same time in 2019.
“A similar report was put out in May with hopes to bring more awareness to the public all while giving courage to those who fall victim of such a hurtful crime to come forward,” says Constable Tania Visintin, VPD. “We are seeing an uptick in reports coming in to police, which gives us confidence that the public is hearing our plea.”
VPD investigators are currently working on 35 files where the incidents have been classified as potential hate crimes. Charges have been recommended to Crown counsel for 16 files. The remaining 19 files are still actively being investigated.
103 files have been concluded at this time as there is either no suspect or no evidence that would lead to the identification of a suspect. This does not eliminate the possibility, however, that these files could be reactivated at a later date should more evidence arise.
Since the last update, the VPD has initiated more measures to assist in combatting this serious crime. Specifically:
- police are using data and analytics to increase police presence in harder hit areas;
- investigators have formed a special hate crime project team with an incident commander to review files;
- new reporting forms for hate incidents are available in Chinese to remove language as a barrier to reporting; and
- officers continue to reach out to the community. A recent Zoom meeting had more than 300 participates tuned in for awareness about hate incidents and police response.
“This remains a top priority for the Vancouver Police, as crimes against race, gender and sexual orientation are serious and intolerable”, adds Visintin. “We recognize this continues to be a problem in our city. We are making it our goal to combat it as quickly as possible.”
Anyone who is a victim of a hate crime is asked to call 9-1-1. Non-emergency incidents can be reported by calling 604-717-3321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.