Online reporting form will make it easier to report hate crimes to law enforcement
Attorney General John Kroger today unveiled a new online hate crime reporting form as part of a broad effort to protect the civil rights of all Oregonians.
"It's crucially important that people feel safe to report hate crimes," said Attorney General Kroger. "This new online reporting system will give us a better handle on the scope of the problem."
Attorney General Kroger also announced that he is working on a report that will document hate crime incidents over the last few years.
The announcement of the new form follows a community meeting last week in which members of the LGBTQ community recounted incidents of gay-bashing that went unreported to law enforcement.
"We're thrilled that the Attorney General's office has taken such an immediate action and offered such a tangible response to the requests made by the LGBTQ community at last week's important forum," Kendall Clawson, Executive Director of Q Center.
"We at the Urban League of Portland urge all Oregonians to support this proposed reporting system, to report such hateful incidents without shame or fear, to use it to expose the hate crimes large and small that are an affront to our peaceful lives, and to provide proof positive that we Oregonians are, in fact, as progressive, and caring and as steeped in humanity as we aspire to be," said Marcus C. Mundy, President and CEO of the Urban League of Portland.
The new form can be found here on the Oregon Department of Justice Web site. The Criminal Justice Division will review the complaints, make follow-up calls and determine whether to refer the cases to other law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution. The Department of Justice also will use the information to get a better handle on the scope of hate crimes and analyze trends.
The new form is not a substitute for reporting crime to local, state or federal law enforcement agencies. It is designed for people who have concerns about their safety and to better track the incidences of hate crimes in Oregon.
Persons who just experienced or witnessed a hate crime should call 911 and victims should still report these to local law enforcement.
The complaint forms are public records, although they have a box that can be checked in order to seek confidentiality. The Department of Justice will do what it can to respect that confidentiality to the extent that the law allows.
Attorney General Kroger campaigned for office in 2008 on a pledge to create a civil rights unit at the Oregon Department of Justice. The 2009 Legislature approved funding for the unit.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org