The Alberta RCMP is emphasizing the importance of reporting any suspected hate crime or incident to police after a recent spike in hate incidents targeting 2SLGBTQ+ communities.
The RCMP cited the recent vandalism of rainbow sidewalks and murals in Ponoka and Okotoks, protests against public libraries, schools and community 2SLGBTQ+ events, and other hate-related incidents across the province over the past year as examples of individuals and community groups being targeted.
The RCMP is urging citizens to report any actions, language or behaviour they suspect to be a hate crime or incident.
“The Alberta RCMP firmly believes that everyone should feel safe, and be treated with equality and respect,” stated a press release.
“We are committed to ensuring everyone we serve can live in communities free from discrimination and bias, and we take any action that threatens the safety and security of others extremely seriously. To be clear, the RCMP will follow up on all reports and if appropriate, charges will be laid.”
The RCMP defines a hate incident or crime as actions committed against a person or property, motivated either partly or wholly by bias, prejudice or hate towards an identifiable group or community, as defined by real or perceived age, colour, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.
Hate-motivated actions can range from physical assaults or threat of violence, property damage or destruction (including graffiti with homo/bi/transphobic slurs and hate symbols), to harassment and discriminatory comments.
“Even if you aren’t sure if an incident is illegal, you are encouraged to report it,” stated the release. “In addition to holding perpetrators responsible, reporting hate incidents allows us to provide victims with support services, potentially assists with other investigations and documents repeated behaviours, and sends an important message that these acts will not be tolerated in our communities.
“Hate has no place in Alberta. All communities deserve to feel safe and be fully included in all aspects of our society.”
If you see or hear any hate-motivated behaviours, report it by contacting your local RCMP detachment. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or at www.tipsubmit.com.