There were 17 per cent fewer hate crime incidents reported to police in Canada in 2013 compared with 2012, Statistics Canada reports. But the numbers also reveal that black populations are still the most frequently targeted in hate crimes, and crimes against Muslims rose last year.

Statistics Canada says a total of 1,167 hate crimes were reported to police in 2013. The majority are considered non-violent, “mischief” crimes, such as vandalism, graffiti and other forms of property destruction,

Hate crime motivated by race or ethnicity accounted for 51 per cent of all hate crime incidents. Religious hate crimes accounted for another 28 per cent, while crimes motivated by hatred of sexual orientation accounted for 16 per cent of incidents.

Although the number of hate crimes reported by police declined in 2013, some aspects remained constant. Black populations, for example, were still the most frequently targeted, making up 22 per cent of all hate crimes.

Jewish populations are also still the most common target in religiously motivated hate crime.

There were 93 fewer religion-motivated hate crime incidents reported in 2013 compared with 2012. Decreases were noted in crimes targeting every religious group except Muslim populations, who saw 20 more incidents in 2013 compared to 2012.

The vast majority of hate crimes in Canada – 97 per cent -- occurred in major cities. But the highest rates of hate crime in 2013 were in Thunder Bay, with 20.9 incidents per 100,000 population, and Hamilton, with 17.4 per 100,000 population.

Hate crime data have been collected on an annual basis since 2006. Statistics Canada says the numbers presented in this study likely underestimate the true extent of hate crime in Canada, as not all crimes are reported to police.

In fact, it’s estimated that only about one-third of incidents are ever reported to authorities.