For the eighth consecutive year, the City is issuing a report on both criminal and non-criminal hate and bias activity. Mayor Lucy Vinis and other city officials will speak at a press conference.
Watch the Press Conference
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 promoting a community where every person, regardless of their identity, is safe, valued, and welcome.
In 2019, there were 66 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), a decrease from the 81 incidents reported in 2018. 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.
The small data set precludes drawing strong conclusions; however the results indicate race and ethnicity continues to be the leading motivating factor for reported hate and bias activity in 2019. African Americans were the group most affected by the crimes of physical violence and intimidation. The Jewish community was the main target of criminal vandalism, which includes graffiti containing hate messages. Black or African American community members were also the primary targets of noncriminal incidents. For comparison, in 2018, the Latino/Hispanic community and LGBTQ community members were the groups most impacted in non-criminal incidents. The distribution of hate and bias incidents did not change from previous years and central neighborhoods continue to be the most impacted areas.
It is probable that the incidents reported in Eugene represent only a small percentage of the actual activity occurring in the city. According to the Department of Justice’s 2017 Crime Victimization Survey, 54% of hate crimes nationally were not reported to police for various reasons.
“In 2019, we saw many Eugene residents and community organizations showing their support to victims of hate crimes and discrimination and voicing opposition to groups promoting hate and bigotry against our residents and visitors,” said Fabio Andrade, Human Rights and Equity Analyst, Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement. “We believe that awareness of the issue and our reporting system is increasing. It is the second consecutive year that we report a decline in the number of reported cases, which is something positive. Unfortunately, preliminary numbers for 2020 indicate a reversal of that trend. We are expecting an increase in the number of cases in the next annual report. This illustrates the need for sustained work to promote actions that demonstrate that everyone belongs in our city.”
The City of Eugene has a Hate and Bias Incident Response Plan. Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement (HRNI) work in partnership with Eugene Police to respond and track incidents and crimes. Victims report through HRNI or Eugene Police. HNRI 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, provides alerts to HNRI and City officials, 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.