King County to look into creating new hotline for reporting hate crimes

SEATTLE — King County recently released a plan outlining what it would take to implement a community-based hotline that would be an alternative to police for reporting hate crimes.

According to a news release from King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who sponsored legislation for a “Stop Hate Hotline,” an estimated four out of five hate crimes go unreported because of a “perceived unsafe reporting environment.”

The report comes after a man vandalized the Wing Luke Museum in the International District. He has since been charged with a hate crime.

According to the report released by King County Executive Dow Constantine, the estimated cost to establish the hotline is between $408,000 and $659,000. Annual expenses are projected to be between $663,000 and $724,000.

A survey from the King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias says there were 643 incidents of hate and bias between 2020 and Aug.10, 2023. The survey says that 84% of those who responded chose not to tell police about hate crimes or bias incidents.

Dunn says the King County Prosecutor’s Office has filed 279 hate crime charges since 2018, with anti-Black hate crimes seeing a 49% increase and anti-Asian incidents rising 77% from the previous year.

Funding for the creation of a hotline must be considered by Constantine and the King County Council in the 2023-24 supplemental budget.

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