Fact Sheet: President Clinton Urges Prompt Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation and Announces New Actions to Improve Hate Crimes Reporting (9/13/00)
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|                                                                         |
|                PRESIDENT CLINTON URGES PROMPT PASSAGE OF                |
|          HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION AND ANNOUNCES NEW ACTIONS TO           |
|                      IMPROVE HATE CRIMES REPORTING                      |
|                           September 13, 2000                            |
|                                                                         |
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Today, President Clinton will announce a study that assesses hate crime
reporting over several years, demonstrating that hate crimes are greatly
under-reported, and will issue a directive to the Department of Justice to
work with state and local law enforcement on strategies to improve hate
crimes reporting.  The President will be joined today by the Deputy
Attorney General, as well as by Sherialyn Byrdsong, the widow of former
Northwestern basketball coach, Ricky Byrdsong, who was gunned down in a
hate-motivated shooting spree and David O'Malley, a member of the Laramie
Police Department who helped to investigate the Matthew Shepard case.
Finally, the President will call on the U.S. House of Representatives to
follow the Senate's lead in voting in favor of Federal hate crimes
legislation.

STUDY ON HATE CRIMES REPORTING. Today, the President will announce a new
report "Improving the Quality and Accuracy of Bias Crime Statistics
Nationally:  An Assessment of the First Ten Years of Bias Crime Data
Collection," which was funded by the Department of Justice. This report, by
Northeastern University and the Justice Research and Statistics Association
(JRSA), discusses current hate crimes trends; provides survey results from
law enforcement respondents; lists barriers to accurate hate crime
reporting; and provides recommendations on how to improve reporting.  This
report concludes that hate crimes are under-reported for several reasons,
including victims' failure to report to the police; lack of training; and
problems of forwarding bias crime data to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI).  Some of the report's findings include:
?    Eighty-three percent of the over 10,000 city, county, and state law
enforcement agencies that participate in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting
(UCR) Hate Crime Data Collection Program reported that no hate crimes had
occurred in their jurisdiction during the previous year.
?    Survey results also show that of the agencies reporting zero hate
crimes to the FBI, 31 percent indicated that their department had
investigated and reported one or more incidents of hate crimes.  These data
demonstrate a disconnect between what line officers believe and what is
reported to the FBI.  Extrapolating this data, the report estimates that
between 5,000 and 6,000 additional agencies may have encountered hate
crimes that were not reported to the national program.
?    Eighty-five percent of law enforcement officers responding to a survey
believed that hate-motivated crimes are more serious than similar crimes
that are not motivated by bias.

DIRECTIVE TO IMPROVE HATE CRIMES REPORTING.  In response to the report, the
President will direct the Department of Justice to work with state and
local law enforcement agencies, including relevant law enforcement
organizations, to develop a plan to improve hate crimes reporting within
120 days.  The Department of Justice is already planning to meet with
representatives of state and local law enforcement organizations later this
month.  In addition to this meeting, the Department will consider in its
plan whether various actions, such as the following, would improve hate
crimes reporting:
?    Pilot programs in jurisdictions where law enforcement agencies
reported zero incidents of hate crimes;
?    A study to analyze the role that juvenile offenders play in the number
of hate crimes committed each year;
?    Training sessions by federal law enforcement on identifying and
reporting hate crimes; and
?    Activities by the U.S. Attorney Hate Crimes Working Groups to work
with community groups and local law enforcement to improve hate crimes
reporting in their areas, including helping to bring more victims forward
to the police.

URGING PASSAGE OF EXPANDED FEDERAL HATE CRIMES LAW.  The President today
will urge the House to vote in favor of hate crimes legislation.  In June,
the Senate overwhelming voted in favor of hate crimes legislation by a vote
of 57 to 42.  The vote in the U.S. House of Representatives will be the
first vote in that chamber on hate crimes legislation.  This legislation
would enhance the Federal government's ability to prosecute violent crimes
motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin and would authorize
Federal prosecution of crimes motivated by sexual orientation, gender, or
disability.  This legislation also recognizes that state and local law
enforcement still have primary responsibility for investigating and
prosecuting hate crimes.  This legislation provides much-needed assistance
for state and local law enforcement agencies that seek it.  It provides
financial assistance through grants and help with investigations and
prosecutions so that Federal, state, and local law enforcement can partner
together to ensure that perpetrators of hate crimes are brought to justice.

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