Skip Navigation
 
City Government

Hate Divides a Community. Campaign Says We’re Better Than This


May 2, 2013 – The community is coming together to address hate motivated crimes through a new awareness campaign. The message being delivered is that Thunder Bay is better than this.

The Hate Divides a Community Campaign, an initiative of the Thunder Bay Hate Crimes Awareness Committee (TBHCAC), was developed with the Crime Prevention Council and Thunder Bay District Crime Stoppers. The Committee was formed in 2013, as a grassroots response from citizens concerned about hate motivated crimes and incidents in our city, and is working to raise awareness.

The groups have worked with the Thunder Bay Police to refine their definition of hate crime and hate incidents to reflect best practices among police forces. Hate motivated crimes and incidents are activities that cause or threaten harm to the security, property, or dignity of an identifiable group or someone perceived to be a member of that group.

Hate crime, which is under reported, requires special attention. The latest Thunder Bay Police Service data shows no reported incidents of hate crime. Police are designating Constable Larry Baxter to monitor hate motivated crimes and incidents. The Campaign is encouraging citizens to report hate motivated crimes and incidents to Crime Stoppers and Police.

“We want to prevent hate motivated crimes and incidents by working together to make discriminatory attitudes and actions unacceptable,” said Constable Larry Baxter. Outreach to schools to educate students about the issue will begin in the fall.

“Unlike other crimes, most hate crimes are committed by a stranger to the individual or group impacted,” said Dr. Amy Siciliano, Crime Prevention Council Coordinator. “The nature of most hate crimes (stranger-to victim violence, vandalism, anonymous hate messages) poses difficulty in bringing perpetrators to justice. Those targeted by hate motivated crimes and incidents are deeply affected, sometimes for life. Targeting a person or group’s identity can strike fear into an entire community of people. Hate crimes are usually committed against individuals and groups already marginalized by mainstream society.”

Background:

In December 2012, the Thunder Bay Police began an investigation into an abduction and a sexual assault of an Aboriginal woman that was reported to be racially motivated.  This incident garnered significant public outcry and concern for her and other Aboriginal women in Thunder Bay.

A member of the public approached Thunder Bay District Crime Stoppers to find out how the community could help with solving this crime and offered financial assistance for a reward.  A decision was made to reach out to other partners.

Dr. Amy Siciliano, Crime Prevention Council Coordinator was already in discussion with the Constable Larry Baxter of the Aboriginal Liaison Unit about the need to address hate motivated crimes and incidents from both a police policy and public education perspective.

These two organizations jumped at the chance to join Crime Stoppers and other community members in forming a Committee to develop a Hate Crimes Awareness campaign.

- 30 -

Contact:        Dr. Amy Siciliano, Coordinator – Crime Prevention Council, 625-2554