Vancouver hate crimes still reported at a 'higher than normal' rate: police
VANCOUVER -- Police say there have been more than twice as many "hate-associated reports" filed in the first half of 2020 as in the same period last year in Vancouver.
The police department said Friday police have identified 155 reports so far, compared to 69 for the same timeframe in 2019.
Members of the VPD have issued similar statements earlier in the year, saying that many of the incidents target the city's Asian communities.
"They really should be thinking about what they're doing and how they're hurting other people" said VPD Insp. Dale Weidman. "It has a prolonged effect, and as Canadians I really think we should be more respectful towards one another."
Const. Tania Visintin said previous statements were sent out to spread awareness, and to encourage other victims to come forward.
"We are seeing an uptick in reports coming into police, which gives us confidence that the public is hearing our plea," she said Friday.
The VPD said 35 files are currently being investigated as possible hate crimes. Sixteen of those have been sent to Crown counsel for possible charges, while the others are still active cases.
"When someone calls you out for something you can't change, you can't hide. It feels really isolating, you feel singled out and powerless," said Vancouver resident Nicole Yamanaka.
She told CTV News she experienced racism as a child, and her 70-year-old mother was recently spat at while leaving a SkyTrain station.
"When it turns into physical bullying, and the name calling is intertwined with that, then you just don't feel safe. Any time you hear those words, you viscerally fell unsafe," she said.
Police say they're using data to increase police presence in parts of the city that seem to be harder hit by hate crimes.
They've formed a hate crime project team to review files, and created new reporting forms in Chinese to remove potential language barriers.
"We recognize this continues to be a problem in our city," Visintin said.