The rate of reported hate crimes for the city of Eugene seems to be holding steady since tracking began four years ago. KLCC’s Brian Bull attended the release of the “2015 Hate and Bias Report” at the historic Mims house today and has this story.
Most hate crimes happened in the downtown and west university neighborhoods. African-Americans were especially affected. Racially-based hate crimes rose by more than 50 percent since 2014.
Among those present was Sam Kamkar, acting chief of the Eugene Police Department. He says some hate crimes are enduring, particularly against Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent.
“I received a phone call from someone that said, ‘Hey, y’know it’s September 11. It’s the anniversary. I’m worried about going out. With all the stuff that’s going on and the election and so forth…what if somebody takes a shot at me?’" recalls Kamkar. " It breaks your heart, that here we are in 2016, and yet we have people that are sincerely in fear.”
The report shows 59 hate crimes and non-criminal incidents happened last year, 10 less than in 2014.
But Jennifer Bills, lieutenant with the Eugene Police Investigations Division, says the overall four-year snapshot shows a slight uptick.
“We don’t know if it’s because more people are reporting hate and bias activity, or more hate/bias activity occurred," says Bills.
"Our hope is that people will come to the Eugene Police Department, or the Human Rights Commission. The more we know, we’ll get a better snapshot of how better to keep our community safe.”
The U.S. Justice Department says up to nearly half of all hate crimes go unreported.
The full 2015 Hate and Bias Report can be found here: https://www.eugene-or.gov/documentcenter/view/29410