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RCMP ask Albertans to report hate incidents against LGBTQ2S+ community after 'recent spike'

The rainbow sidewalk in front of the United Church in Ponoka was vandalized on June 1, 2023. (Credit: RCMP) The rainbow sidewalk in front of the United Church in Ponoka was vandalized on June 1, 2023. (Credit: RCMP)

A spike of hate incidents against LGBTQ2S+ Albertans during Pride month prompted the RCMP to encourage people to report incidents to police.

RCMP put out the call to Albertans after rainbow sidewalks and murals were vandalized in Okotoks and Ponoka.

Albertans should report these incidents, police said, even if they're not sure whether the acts were illegal.

"A hate incident or crime are 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," the RCMP explained in a release.

"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."

Hate crimes increased 38 per cent between 2019 and 2022 in Alberta, according to RCMP data.

Thirteen per cent of those crimes were related to sexual orientation, Supt. Mike McCauley told CTV News Edmonton.

"We're encouraging more reporting because hate crimes are very much underreported, like drastically underreported," he said.

When asked why that is, McCauley said: "I think there is a lack of trust…certain communities perhaps feel we aren't going to take their word seriously, or perhaps there's been issues in the past that have eroded trust. But our true desire as the Alberta RCMP is to build trust within all communities.

"We want to have their trust, we want them to feel comfortable reporting to us. We will take all steps necessary to ensure that if they do report, we respond in a sensitive way."

To report an incident, call your local RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Earlier this month, Edmonton police announced a new portal to report hate incidents and crimes Top Stories

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