Hate and Bias Report
City of Eugene Issues 2017 Hate and Bias Report
For the fifth consecutive year, the City is issuing a report on both criminal and non-criminal hate and bias behavior. In alignment with the City Council Goal of creating a Safe Community, the City is committed to working with community partners to reach the vision of creating a community where every person, regardless of their identity, is safe, valued and welcome. The 2017 report was released on Saturday, March 10 at the University of Oregon Knight Law Center in Eugene.
In 2017, there were 139 bias crimes and non-criminal incidents reported to the City through the Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement (HRNI) and Eugene Police Department (EPD). Bias crimes can include all classes of crime motivated by prejudice that is based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Non-criminal incidents are acts of hate which are based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, but by nature do not raise to the level of crime by definition. By comparison, 82 bias crimes and non-criminal incidents were reported in 2016. The small data set precludes drawing strong conclusions, however the results indicate race continues to be the leading motivating factor for reported hate and bias activity in 2017. African Americans in Eugene continue to be dramatically over represented in experiencing hate and bias crimes. Of the 87 reported hate crimes, 25 were committed against African Americans. In addition, EPD data cites that crimes related to religion increased, specifically impacting the Jewish community which experienced an increase to 15 crimes up from 4 in 2016.
This year, EPD altered their strategy in recording hate-related vandalism reports, and officers in some cases took proactive reports of graffiti when they witnessed the vandalism. In previous years, reports for vandalism and graffiti were only recorded when they were reported to authorities by the public.
Hate and bias activity was reported throughout Eugene, with almost every neighborhood impacted by at least one incident. It is probable that the incidents reported in Eugene represent only a small percentage of the actual activity occurring. According to the Department of Justice’s most recent Hate Crime Victimization Report it was estimated nationally that only between 25-42% of hate crimes were reported to police.
“For Eugene to be truly safe, vibrant, and welcoming for all it is essential to continue to provide support to victims of bias activity and to develop and implement strategies to reduce this activity and the underlying attitudes that perpetuate it. We are proud to partner with organizations to proactively educate and provide resources in response to this type of activity. As a community we can act in solidarity to send a message that this behavior is not welcome in Eugene.”
Katie Babits, Human Rights and Equity Analyst from the City of Eugene Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement.
According to the City of Eugene’s Hate and Bias Incident Response Plan, HRNI is responsible for collecting statistical information on both criminal and non-criminal hate and bias activity and providing victim support and community response to hate and bias activity in Eugene. EPD takes reports and investigates criminal activity.
To report crimes: if it is an emergency, dial 911; if it is not an emergency, call 541-682-5111. To report non-criminal activity, call the City Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement at 541-682-5177.