Reports of Hate and Bias Incidents Increase in Oregon

July 1, 2024
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Reports of Hate and Bias Incidents Increase in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Unit (CRU) has provided its annual update on the groundbreaking work of DOJ’s statewide Bias Response Hotline. The Hotline, now in its fifth year, helps thousands of Oregonians every year who have been impacted by bias and hate.

The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) released this data today in its Bias Crimes (2023) Report. The findings of the annual report, show a 229% increase in overall reporting to the Hotline from 2020-2023, and a 222% increase in reports of both bias crimes and non-criminal bias incidents, from 910 in 2020 to 2,932 in 2023.

The Hotline has registered an increase in reporting each year since it was launched in January 2020. The Hotline offers an alternative to reporting to law enforcement, as well as confidential support and assistance with connections to community resources and options.

Despite the increase in reporting to the Hotline, underreporting of hate crimes and bias-motivated conduct is pervasive. To increase awareness of the Hotline, and to expand connections, DOJ CRU earlier this year kicked off its “You Belong.” campaign, a statewide multimedia public outreach effort.

“Acts of bias and hatred are cruel and cowardly, and they deny people the dignity of safety and belonging every Oregonian deserves. Hate speech, slur-filled graffiti, bigoted flyering campaigns, and bias-motivated assaults are what we are seeing and hearing about regularly on the Hotline,” Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said.  “The work our Civil Rights Unit does is integral to combating hate in Oregon. We know most people don’t tell anyone—oftentimes including law enforcement—about their hate and bias experiences, so it is critical we continue to invest in and support our front-line advocates providing crucial services to Oregonians throughout the state on the Hotline,” AG Rosenblum added.

Bias crimes and incidents were reported in every county in Oregon. Although bias and hate impact communities statewide, not all communities are impacted equally. For example, reporting of anti-Asian bias peaked in 2021, while incidents and crimes against Hispanic and Latinx Oregonians reached their highest level in 2022.

At the same time, Black/African American individuals are consistently at the highest risk of hate-based targeting, at more than 500 reports yearly, or 19% of all victimizations reported to the Hotline, despite accounting for only 2% of Oregon’s population (see report’s Table 2 and Tables A8-A9 in Appendix A for victim demographics).

According to the CJC report, reports to the Hotline regarding anti-religion bias saw the largest increase—up 128%—from 2022 to 2023, including a 263% increase in anti-Muslim targeting, and a 144% increase in anti-Jewish targeting. Additional protected classes reporting increases in targeting include the LGBTQIA2S+ communities, with reports targeting gender identity increasing 56%, while reports targeting sexual orientation increased by 28% from 2022 to 2023. (See report’s Table A10 in Appendix A for reports by bias motivation.)

Among this year’s findings is extensive underreporting of bias crimes to law enforcement. In 2022 and 2023, Hotline data contained more than twice the number of victims as found in NIBRS (the National Incident Based Reporting System is a law enforcement reporting system housed within the Oregon State Police). Underreporting differs by victim demographics: white persons and males tend to report to law enforcement, while BIPOC individuals, females and gender expansive bias crime victims tend to report their experiences to the Hotline.

“What we’re seeing in Oregon, we believe, is a ‘both-and’ scenario, where we believe the data shows both an increase in incidents and an increase in awareness of and engagement with the Bias Response Hotline,” said Fay Stetz-Waters, Oregon DOJ’s Director of Civil Rights and Social Justice. “At the core of the Hotline’s services is a recognition that data reflect numbers, but we are supporting actual human beings whose lives have been turned upsidedown by hate. We must acknowledge the reality that hate and bias are plaguing all our communities, that it has enormous impact in community members’ ability to thrive, and that the Hotline is one critical tool in our toolkit for providing support, tracking and documenting this scourge, and ultimately helping to pave a path to human-centered healing.”

A small but significant sign of improvement can be seen in the modest decrease in bias-motivated reports in schools, which declined to approximately 300 reports in 2023, after hitting a peak of 444 reports in 2022 (see Figure 9 and Tables A23 and A24 in Appendix A). Younger persons remain at risk however, as the Hotline has seen yearly increases in bias crimes and bias incidents targeting young people. Individuals 17 and younger experienced a steep increase in bias crimes and bias incidents between 2021 (174 or 12 % of reports) and 2022 (361 or 14% of reports), with another increase in 2023 (441 or 15% of reports) (see Table A8 in Appendix A).

For further background on the CJC report, every July 1 the Commission releases a report on hate and bias around the state. The full report includes summary data of bias crimes and non-criminal bias incidents from several data sources: the Bias Response Hotline; bias-related criminal offenses taken from NIBRS housed within the Oregon State Police (OSP); data on the prosecution of bias crimes from 34 responsive district attorneys’ offices; arrest data taken from the national Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS); court data for bias crimes taken from Oregon’s Odyssey data system; and conviction and sentencing data for bias crimes from Oregon’s Department of Corrections (DOC). (Executive summaries of the CJC report are also online in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Somali, and Vietnamese.

For further background on the DOJ’s Hotline, in 2018, in response to spikes in hate crimes across Oregon, Attorney General Rosenblum convened a task force on hate-motivated crimes and incidents. Guided by their insights and experiences, AG Rosenblum championed the passage of 2019’s Senate Bill 577. The bill passed, defining bias crimes and incidents in Oregon, and establishing resources to respond to the rise in hate crimes and bias incidents in our state. SB 577 also established the Oregon Bias Response Hotline, the first of its kind in the nation. The Hotline supports victims, survivors and witnesses, and utilizes a data-driven approach which collects data that informs policymakers, law enforcement and the community about the extent of bias incidents and hate crimes in Oregon. The CJC Report, released today, includes much of this information.

Contact the Bias Response Hotline at or by calling 1-844-924-BIAS (2427). Interpretation is available in over 240 languages, and the Hotline accepts all Relay calls. An online web report feature is available in 9 languages, and a new live chat/text feature is available in four languages.