NCCM welcomes new online reporting system for hate crimes

Ottawa Police Service becomes first police service in Canada to offer online option

(Ottawa – April 11, 2017) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), welcomes today’s announcement that the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) will be offering an online form for reporting hate crimes.

Starting today, community members who believe they have been the target of a hate crime or incident have the option to report it online, in addition to other reporting options. If a crime is in progress or someone is in immediate danger, victims or observers should always first call 911.

« Up to two-thirds of hate crimes go unreported, according to Statistics Canada, » says Amira Elghawaby, NCCM’s Director of Communications. « And we have heard that community members at times find the process to report crimes or incidents to be challenging and even intimidating. We advocated for the removal of barriers to encourage more reporting and we are very pleased that Chief Charles Bordeleau and his team have responded to community concerns. »

The NCCM worked with the OPS Diversity and Race Relations unit in highlighting the online form provided by the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) as an example of what OPS could offer. The SPVM provides an online form to report hate incidents, described as « a non criminal act that could affects the sense of safety of a person or an identifiable group of people and that, given the context, is perceived as such by reason of race, national or ethical origin, language, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation or an inability, especially. »

The OPS goes even further in allowing community members to additionally report hate crimes.

« Our community partners have requested this and I’m pleased to see it being implemented, » said Chief Bordeleau in a statement today. « This will provide an alternative means of access to police services and help to eliminate these kinds of crimes in our communities. »

The OPS will review all completed forms within 24 hours of submission.

« The impact of hate crime is immense. It can destroy lives, instill fear and break down the fabric of communities, » said Diversity and Race Relations Staff Sergeant David Zackrias. « By reporting hate crime when it happens, you can help prevent it from happening to someone else. »

The NCCM was joined by over 72 Canadian Muslim organizations and allies in calling on police services to provide an annual report detailing hate crimes and hate incidents happening in their communities in an open letter following the tragic shootings at a Quebec City mosque . Communities currently rely on data from Statistics Canada which reports on police-reported hate crimes two years after the fact.