One of the more concerning indicators for Kelowna RCMP that came out of a Statistics Canada report this week was an increase in police-reported hate crimes.
There were 24 files in the Kelowna area last year, compared to six in 2020.
“That one jumped off the pages as extremely alarming,” said RCMP Supt. Kara Triance.
She added investigators have looked at all of those files for 2021.
“I can say with accuracy that is a COVID-related, alarming, distasteful, and horrific response to people making anti-Semitic remarks, to people referring to mandates from government.”
Triance stressed that hate-reported crimes are different from hate-reported incidents. She noted that RCMP would respond to a protest where hate was associated or to an incident where an individual was targeted with hateful comments but there was no physical assault.
“So these came through as hate-reported incidents. We looked at every single one of those and I can tell you with confidence that this year the decrease is on par with what we see in 2019, and has decreased almost 100 per cent.”
According to the Statistics Canada report, Kelowna was third in B.C. for police-reported hate crimes behind Victoria (40) and Vancouver (429).