Windsor police launch new online hate-crime reporting tool

A Windsor police cruiser in a 2024 file photo.  (CBC News - image credit)
A Windsor police cruiser in a 2024 file photo. (CBC News - image credit)

Windsor police are launching a new online tool for reporting hate crimes, the service announced Monday, after receiving more than 30 reports of hate-motivate incidents last year.

The tool will allow people to report and even submit evidence from home, in a bid to reduce barriers and help police gather more information.

Hate crimes are criminal actions that target race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability. A hate-motivated incident may not be criminal, but could include harmful things like name-calling, graffiti, racial insults and spreading hateful messages.

"We understand the profound impact that hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents can have on individuals and communities," said Const. Philippe Peladeau, a designated hate crimes officer for the Windsor police. "By providing an online reporting option, we hope to remove some of these barriers and encourage greater participation in the fight against hate."

The Windsor Police Service received 32 reports of hate-motivated incidents in 2023, just over half involving race or ethnicity. Another nine involved religion and six involved sexual orientation.

"This launch of the online hate reporting tool is a significant step in reporting hate crimes experienced by racialized communities in Windsor. Newcomers are hesitant to report or seek support for these painful experiences due to fear, stigma, and other barriers," said Nandini Tirumala, program director of the South Asian Centre of Windsor.

"Additionally, through monitoring and collection of data, more education and awareness campaigns can be offered to prevent hate-motivated incidents and make Windsor an inclusive community for all."