Hate crimes in Canada directed at Muslims dropped in 2016 after four years of steady increases, according to a Statistics Canada report released Tuesday.
Police recorded 139 such crimes last year, down by 20, marking a decrease from 159 in 2015. Hate crimes against Muslims had increased by 250 percent between 2012-2015.
The report noted, however, that changes in police procedures and unreported crimes could skew the true figure.
“Fluctuations in the annual number of incidents can be influenced by changes in local police service practices and community involvement, as well as the willingness of victims to report incidents to police,” the report stated. “The number of hate crimes presented in this release likely undercounts the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police.”
While reported hate crimes against Muslims dropped, there was a 3 percent overall increase in hate crimes to 1,409 in 2016, due to “more incidents targeting South Asians and Arabs or West Asians, the Jewish population, and people based on their sexual orientation,” the StatsCan report said.
That’s 47 more reported hate crimes in 2016 than the previous year.
Most of the drop in Muslim-targeted hate crimes is attributable to Quebec, where 16 fewer incidents were reported than in 2015.
Attacks against Jews had the largest increase in hate crimes, jumping to 221 in 2016 from 178 reported incidents the previous year.