New York, NY, June 27, 2019 … ADL (Anti-Defamation League) today welcomed the introduction of bipartisan legislation designed to improve hate crime data collection. The measure would authorize grants to promote hate crime training, prevention, best practices, and data collection initiatives – and to develop state hate crime reporting hotlines to refer individuals to local law enforcement and support services.
“Especially in a time of rising hate crimes, we must improve hate crime data collection, because data drives policy,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Better data collection and training would help allocate police resources and expand communication with targeted communities. Studies have shown that more comprehensive hate crime reporting can deter hate violence and advance police-community relations.”
The most recent FBI data showed hate crimes in the U.S. jumped 17 percent in 2017, with a 37 percent spike in crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions. The 17 percent increase was three times more than the 5 percent rise reported in 2016. The increase reported by the FBI mirrors the surge ADL found in its Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in 2017.
Though the FBI report now provides the best national snapshot of bias-motivated criminal activity in America, it is incomplete. The data is based on local law enforcement reporting to the bureau. In 2017, that came from 16,149 law enforcement agencies, the highest level of participation since the Hate Crime Statistics Act’s enactment in 1990. However, as with past FBI reports, there remains a serious gap in reporting. At least 92 cities with populations exceeding 100,000 people either did not report any data to the FBI or affirmatively reported zero hate crimes.
The Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act is sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). House companion legislation is sponsored by Reps. Donald Beyer, Jr. (D-VA) and Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX). The Senate bill name highlights the problem of hate crime underreporting, because it is named after two hate crime victims whose murders were not included in state and federal data collection reports.
Khalid Jabara was shot by his neighbor in Tulsa, Okla., on August 12, 2016. The murder was the culmination of a series of escalating bias-motivated incidents; Jabara’s family had a restraining order against Khalid’s killer at the time of the murder. The murderer was successfully prosecuted under Oklahoma’s hate crime law, yet the murder was not included in either state or federal HCSA reports for 2016.
Heather Heyer was struck and killed by a car driven by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Va., on August 12, 2017. The murderer was convicted of killing Heyer in December 2018, and later pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges, too. Yet this was not reported as a hate crime to either Virginia state authorities or included in the FBI HCSA for 2017.