SEATTLE - The state attorney general launched an effort, to not only increase awareness about the growing number of hate-related incidents, but to better prosecute those who commit these crimes.
Everyone from law enforcement, prosecutors and community groups throughout Washington are part of this advisory group that will meet about four times, along with members of the public.
The goal is to come up with practical recommendations to reduce hate crimes. This comes after a new law now includes more groups who are potential targets of hate.
“I think everyone is seeing what’s happening -- everybody’s on edge,” said Bre Weider, policy analyst with the State Attorney’s General Office. “And we all just want to come together and find solutions to work for all of us.”
According to the city's auditor office, the number of reported hate crimes to Seattle PD jumped nearly 400% between 2012 and 2018. But when it comes to prosecutions - there were fewer than 40 between 2012 and 2017.
Some of the ideas currently on the table are standardized data collection and reporting of hate crimes, and an anti-bias awareness campaign starting as early as elementary school.
One community member taking part is Jasmit Singh, who represents the Sikh community. He said one example is the 2017 case of a Sikh man who was shot and seriously injured in his driveway. Police called him a victim of a hate crime, but a suspect hasn’t been caught.
Singh said he still gets comments from people who doubt if this case was even hate motivated.
“We want a healthy balance between the community and law enforcement to say these things are serious and should be dealt with seriously,” said Singh.
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