Democracy and Diversity

Hate Crimes

This section created by:
Ottilia Chareka
and Carla Peck

What a Crime!

Working alone, divide the following list into different categories of crimes. What criteria did you use to make up your categories?

Compare your lists with your peers.  Are there crimes that everyone has put into the same category?

Are there any crimes that fit into more than one category?

Now try to do the same activity with the entire class.

What kinds of problems did the class encounter when trying to agree on a classification system?






Armed Robbery  


Tax evasion   





Shoplifting  Fraud
Libel  Murder
Slander       Traffic Offence
Speeding     Rape
Plagiarism Drug trafficking
Soliciting Public drinking
(add any others that you can think of)

Let’s look a little closer at some of these crimes.  In some cases, similar crimes have different punishments. Why do you think this is so? 


Embezzlement vs. “Enron”
Assault vs. Assault with a deadly weapon
Robbery vs. Armed robbery
'Touching for sexual purposes' vs. sexual abuse on a child
Rape and rape with a deadly weapon/rape & murder

Link to the Criminal Code of Canada to determine the punishments for each of the pairs of crimes listed above.

Find some real-life examples of crimes that you have seen in the media (newspapers, television, internet, radio, etc.).  

Are there any examples that do not fit into the categories you and your peers created above?  

Read the articles entitled “Racial Slur” and "Hate Graffiti in Fredericton, NB". 

1) "Racial Slur Probed" and  NB News: "Police Investigate Possible....."

2) Vandals Damage Cemetery

Using the examples listed above, identify the similarities and differences between the two events.  If you were the judge, which one would you say deserved the harsher punishment? Why?  Do you feel the need to create a new category now, based on your assessment of these crimes? What name would you give this crime? How would you define it?

In the one of the news stories you just read, the RCMP officer employed the term "hate crime" when referring to the vandalism of the person's house and car.  What do you know about hate crimes?  

Inform Yourself:

Have a look at legislation from various countries regarding a hate crimes:

USA (website)
Canada (website)

International (website)

How do you feel about what you just learned? Do you agree or disagree with the creation of “hate crime” laws?  Discuss your point of view with a classmate who has a different opinion. 

Suggestions for Teachers


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Last Updated: 29-Mar-2004