Hate crimes decreased nationally but increased in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The number of hate crimes is decreasing nationally, but recent data shows they’re on the rise in Indiana.

No one truly knows how many hate crimes happen each year. The Anti-Defamation League said so many go unreported to police but even the ones that are reported to police may not be documented.

“Municipalities are not required by law to report these to the FBI,” said David Goldenberg, the Midwest Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League.

The totals we do have come from police departments voluntarily reporting their hate crime numbers.

“Governments need to improve hate crimes training, prevention, and best practices in data collection to effectively address the troubling rise in hate crimes throughout communities,” added Goldenberg.

In 2018, Indianapolis reported 34 hate crimes, South Bend had 24, Fort Wayne reported one, and Evansville didn’t send any data to the FBI.

“The reality is, if you don’t have good data, it’s hard to realize how big of a problem it is,” said Goldenberg.

Some cities, like Indianapolis, didn’t report numbers in 2017 but did in 2018.

Overall, Indiana reported 111 hate crimes in 2018 and 55 the year before.

“Certainly, this data and the rise between hate crimes in Indiana between 2017 and 2018 point to the need to make sure that the state has an actual hate crimes law,” said Goldenberg.

The Anti-Defamation League doesn’t recognize the hate crimes law Indiana passed earlier this year because it leaves out gender identity, gender, and sex.

“We are afraid, and we do experience hate crimes I don’t know a single transgender woman for example who hasn’t at one point or another experienced threats and even violence,” said Kit Malone, an ACLU of Indiana Advocate and Educator.

Supporters of the law say it protects all people from hate crimes. ADL said certain groups should be named specifically in all hate crime laws.

At this point, it’s unclear whether the state will revisit this issue in the coming session.

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