New group looks to address hate crimes in Sarnia-Lambton

Hundreds march in Sarnia's downtown for Black Lives Matter rally June 13, 2020 ( photo by Dave Dentinger)

A new group is looking to address hate crimes across the community.

The Sarnia-Lambton Alliance Against Hate was founded by the John Howard Society and features the Sarnia Police Service, the Local Immigration Partnership, and the Lambton-Kent District School Board.

Police Chief Norm Hansen said the group was formed because, unfortunately, hate crimes happen.

“We’re between eight and ten a year for the last few years [in Sarnia], ranging from graffiti to words, but the point I’d like to make is that one is too many,” said Hansen. “We’re not bad here, but across the nation we’ve seen Islamophobia, anti-Asian sentiment, all kinds of different [hate] — Indigenous is obviously in the news right now.”

Hansen said the group held its first meeting on Monday and that it went well. He said the team is going to put some ideas together before meeting again, probably later in the summer.

Hansen said he wishes there wasn’t a need for this type of initiative.

“I think it’s important to have partnerships in there because sometimes hate crime goes under reported — for whatever reason, nervousness about the police or the system. And so, with other partners in there, there might be a different way to approach this.”

Hansen said he’s hopeful more people and organizations will want to join the alliance.