under-reporting | Not in Our Town


Members of San Francisco's Coalition on Hate Violence say that California's recently-released hate crime report represents a cause for deep concern, but not for reasons you might expect. According to "Hate Crime in California 2009," released mid-July by the California Department of Justice, there was a 21.3 percent decrease in hate crime incidents last year, from 1,397 incidents in 2008 to 1,100 in 2009. But coalition members, who represent a cross-section of law enforcement, constituency groups and non-profits, say this apparent decline may not represent an actual drop in hate crime, but a decrease in the reporting of those crimes. As we described in an earlier blog post, hate crime is often under-reported for a variety of reasons ranging from victim fear or lack of access to law enforcement to untrained or resistant police and district attorneys.  Coalition members looked at the statistics for hate crimes in San Francisco -- 80 reported events in 2008, compared to 29 in 2009 -- and said those numbers don't match what their own organizations are seeing on the ground.