Delta Police respond to rising number of hate crimes

DELTA has seen a significant rise in hate crimes in 2021, a trend being seen across the Metro Vancouver area. From March 29 to April 12 alone, 10 incidences of suspected hate crimes were reported to the Delta Police.

These range from complaints of racial slurs being yelled in public, or at store employees, to instances of racist graffiti at parks and schools, and even an assault involving racist remarks, that resulted in a minor injury to the victim.

“In all of 2020 Delta Police recorded 12 instances of suspected hate crimes,” said Deputy Chief Harj Sidhu, who is responsible for operational policing in Delta. “This year we have seen 15 incidents of hate crime from January through to mid-April.” Approximately two-thirds of all instances were categorized as mischief, such as graffiti.

Of the 10 most recent incidences, racial slurs and anti-Semitic graffiti were the most common behaviours noted, and police believe the same individual/s may be responsible for multiple instances of graffiti. In regard to the assault, a suspect was arrested at scene, and charges are anticipated in this matter.

Although all types of hate crimes are unacceptable, Delta has not seen a trend in anti-Asian hate crime that has been experienced in other jurisdictions during the pandemic.

To better meet the needs of their growing and diverse city, in 2020 the DPD created an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Unit (EDIU). The three-person unit, led by Staff Sergeant Sukh Sidhu, is intended to centralize the DPD’s efforts to engage with Delta’s diverse, faith-based, and not for profit, community leaders, groups and organizations.

“We’re looking internally as well,” Sukh Sidhu, “reviewing processes, procedures and policies, including recruiting practices and training. We have a very comprehensive process underway, and have engaged an impartial third-party to offer perspective.”

The EDIU recently distributed a Hate Crime Tool Kit to 28 faith-based organizations in Delta. It provides a quick guide on reporting crimes, and suspected hate based crimes, specifically, within the community. It is available online for anyone to reference.

“We recognize that hate-motivated incidents are too often not reported in Canada, and we strongly encourage everyone to report any and all known or suspected incidents to police,” said Harj Sidhu. “I want to reassure the community that the Delta Police Department takes reports of hate crimes very seriously, and will investigate to the fullest extent possible.”