Most hate crimes are un­re­ported

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Nation - By Sadie Gur­man and Rus­sell Con­tr­eras

WASH­ING­TON — Most vic­tims of hate crimes don’t re­port them to po­lice, ac­cord­ing to a new study that ad­vo­cates say re­in­forces their fears that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tough rhetoric and poli­cies will make more peo­ple afraid to come for­ward.

More than half the 250,000 hate crimes that took place each year be­tween 2004 and 2015 went un­re­ported to law en­force­ment for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, ac­cord­ing to a spe­cial re­port on the is­sue from the Bureau of Jus­tice Sta­tis­tics. Hate crimes were most of­ten not re­ported be­cause they were han­dled some other way, the re­port said. But peo­ple also did not come for­ward be­cause they didn’t feel it was im­por­tant or that po­lice would help, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

“I think this re­port shows the kind of fear that is go­ing on in our com­mu­ni­ties,” said Pa­tri­cia Montes, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Bos­ton-based im­mi­grant ad­vo­cacy group Cen­tro Pre­sente. She and other ad­vo­cates are con­cerned that Latino im­mi­grants, in par­tic­u­lar, may be re­luc­tant to call po­lice to re­port a hate crime for fear of be­ing de­ported, par­tic­u­larly since the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is ramp­ing up im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment across the coun­try.

“Don­ald Trump’s anti-im­mi­grant rhetoric also will pre­vent more im­mi­grants from re­port­ing crimes to po­lice,” Montes said.

The re­port comes as the Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials gathered with ad­vo­cacy groups and ex­perts on Thurs­day to dis­cuss hate crimes, in­clud­ing ways to bet­ter doc­u­ment them. Of­fi­cials have long lamented a lack of solid data on the prob­lem.

But At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions told the group his depart­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to in­ves­ti­gat­ing and pros­e­cut­ing such of­fenses as part of his larger pri­or­ity of help­ing cities fight vi­o­lence.

“Hate crimes are vi­o­lent crimes,” Ses­sions told the group. “No per­son should have to fear be­ing vi­o­lently at­tacked be­cause of who they are, what they be­lieve or how they wor­ship.”

The re­port re­leased Thurs­day is based on a sur­vey of house­holds and is one of sev­eral stud­ies that aim to quan­tify hate crimes.

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