As the pandemic continues, Vancouver Police Department (VPD) said on Friday that hate-related incidents continue to occur “at a higher than normal rate,” including those targeting Vancouver’s Asian communities.
VPD put out a similar report 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,” said VPD Const. Tania Visintin.
So far this year, VPD have identified 155 hate-associated reports, up from 69 for the same time period in 2019.
Visintin said 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 are still actively being investigated.
“We are seeing an uptick in reports coming in to police, which gives us confidence that the public is hearing our plea,” she said.
Of the total number of reports, 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,” police said.
“This does not eliminate the possibility, however, that these files could be reactivated at a later date should more evidence arise.”
- See also:
Police said that since their last public update in May, the department has initiated more measures to assist in combatting this serious crime.
These, they said, include:
- Using data and analytics to increase police presence in harder-hit areas;
- The formation of 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;
- Officers continuing to reach out to the community. This particular effort, police said, includes a recent Zoom meeting that 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,” said 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.