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Public urged to unite against hate crime


South Belfast has the second lowest rate of hate crime in the Belfast area.

PSNI statistics have revealed there were a total number of 282 incidents reported to the PSNI in south Belfast between April 2009 and March 2010.

Of these 282 incidents there were 146 prosecutions resulting.

A total of 371 offences were committed in north Belfast, while 109 offences were reported in east Belfast and 78 in west Belfast.

There are around five times more sectarian hate crimes in north Belfast compared to south Belfast (277 to 58).

According to Direct.gov, police estimate only 40 per cent of all crimes committed are ever reported. Hate crime is among the biggest categories.

At the corner of Waring Street in Belfast, on February 15, the Unite Against Hate unveiled their new campaign to ‘stomp out’ hate crime in Northern Ireland.

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A series of 14 billboard posters and a mobile advertising unit will appear over the next two weeks urging people to report hate crime.

Unite against Hate stated: “More than 2,100 hate crimes were committed against minority groups last year but authorities believe more than twice that go unreported.”

Eva Grosman, Unite against Hate Project manager said: “Unite against Hate was formed in order to galvanise collective responsibility on the issue, we’ve all got our part to play in fighting all forms of prejudice and hate crime.”

She said the billboards represent a multi-agency commitment to tackle hate crime, build confidence and encourage victims and witnesses to come forward so that under reporting is reduced.

She said: “We try to unite everyone to stand together.

“Northern Ireland is not unique to suffer from these crimes.

“But they are deeply damaging not just to the victims and their families and friends, but also to the international reputation of the country as a place to visit and invest.”

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said:”If anyone feels they are a victim, report it to your local police station or phone and ask to speak to the district's hate crime and minority liaison officer and we will initiate an investigation.

“The Police Service will continue to work with our partner agencies to combat hate crime perpetrated against our increasingly diverse society,” he added.

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