Hate crimes rise over 50% in 2017: Montreal police

Information compiled by Montreal police shows there was a correlation last year between reported hate crimes and stories involving minority groups in the news.

Police investigated over 20 hate crimes per month in 2017, according to police data released to Le Devoir, but there were specific times with major spikes.

The first, and largest of the year if including hate incidents -- when an act is deemed to be motivated by hatred towards a specific group, but is not illegal under the Criminal Code -- was in February, just following the mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City on Jan. 29, when six people were killed and several more injured when a gunman opened fire during a prayer service.

The second blip—and the one where Montreal saw over 50 hate crimes reported within a month—was in August, as the number of migrants crossing into Quebec illegally from the United States hit its zenith.

"It's sad to know these things still happen, but the kind of work that we should look at is what happens when people report, how far the police can go in order to respond to it and what the criminal justice system will do in terms of prosecution, Fo Niemi, Director of the Center for Research Action on Race Relations, told CJAD 800.

According to the data, Montreal police investigated just under 250 hate crimes in 2017, and a further 170 hate incidents, with many being reported coming from the internet and social media.