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Canada: Hate crimes against Asians go up by 717%, 97 per cent increase in overall crime in Vancouver last year

Vancouver police said that the increase in the anti-Asian hate crimes coincided with the increases in COVID-19 cases last March.

The latest data released by Vancouver police shows an increasing trend of anti-Asian hate crimes in Canada. The annual data explores various statistics in the city, including increases in culpable homicide and assaults. At the same time, there was a decrease in the number of sex offences and robberies.

According to the reports, British Columbia Premier John Horgan released the data and said that the recent surge in the hate crimes against Asians in Vancouver Police is “deeply troubling”.

The latest data suggests that the number of incidents has increased from 142 in the last year to 280 in 2020. This is an increase of 97 per cent. There has also been an increase in hate crimes, particularly those against people of Asian descent.

The Vancouver police data said that anti-Asian hate crimes rose from 12 cases in 2019 to 142 such incidents in 2020, a 717 per cent increase. Vancouver police said that the increase in the anti-Asian hate crimes coincided with the increases in COVID-19 cases last March.

Const. Tania Visinitin of the Vancouver Police Department said the surge in crimes was noticed in May, and such incidents have slowed since the summer. “The trauma and psychological impact from these incidents trump everything,” she said.

The police officer said that the police department reached out to the community to encourage people to report hate crimes and make them aware that the police took the incidents seriously.

Addressing the issue, Premier John Horgan said there are difficulties in prosecuting hate crimes as it was difficult to prove the crime was race-related, as opposed to violent crimes.

“We need to ensure violence against people of colour is not just treated as violence but, in fact, hate crimes,” he said. “If you’re going to turn against people because of the colour of your skin, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Referring to recent attacks on Asians in the United States, Horgan said such incidents can occur in British Columbia.

The provincial government is reportedly framing anti-racism legislation and has also reached out to police forces to emphasize the importance of prosecuting hate crimes. The premier also said that the Education Ministry is also working with school boards and looking at anti-racism discussions and dialogues in classrooms.

“We need to make sure we’re talking about these issues all the time. Prevention starts by people stepping up when they see intolerance,” Horgan said.

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