Monday, December 15, 2008

Community Issues- Hate Crimes

While hardly a topic in the spirit of holiday cheer, just a quick post on a serious issue: hate crimes. Those who follow the news closely will recall that there has been a spate of bias-related crimes in the area, particularly directed at members of the LGBT community. DC is ahead of the curve in many ways, particularly by having a specific unit of MPD that specializes in LGBT issues, but this hasn't stopped hate and bias crimes from being perpetrated. Moreover, the number of hate crimes in DC is believed to be greatly underreported, partly because of hesitance on the part of victims to come forward and partly due to a lack of recognition of a crime as hate-motivated.

Recently the DC Council Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary held hearings on the issue. Our friend and Dupont ANC Commissioner Jack Jacobson presented enlightening testimony on the matter that can be found here. Jack's testimony includes a set of suggestions to help increase the reporting (and accuracy) of hate crimes as a starting point to reassess how to curb the incidence of these crimes. Interested in getting invovled? Check out Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, MPD's Gay and Lesbian Liason Unit, get in touch with your Council member
or keep up with Commissioner Jacobson and his important public safety work.

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