PORTLAND, Ore. — Hate and bias crimes reported to Oregon law enforcement rose by 38% from 2019 to 2020 and reports to the state's bias response hotline surged by 134% in the second half of 2020, according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission (CJC).
According to the CJC's second annual report on hate crimes and bias incidents in Oregon, delivered to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Thursday night, the Oregon DOJ Bias Response Hotline received 1,101 reports in 2020. The CJC said that reports surged by 134% in the second half of 2020. The CJC also reported that 377 bias crimes were reported to law enforcement agencies in 2020, a 38% increase from 2019.
Most of the reports from 2020 were related to race-based targeting, primarily of Black people, along with a surge in reports of bias against Asian people, the CJC said.
Oregon needs more staffing for the DOJ hotline, more training for law enforcement officers, and continued efforts to educate Oregonians about the state's bias crime laws, the hotline and resources for victims and survivors, according to a list of recommendations from the CJC.
"By having stronger data about these incidents, we are able to better respond and support victims of hate and bias," Rosenblum said. "We know there are parts of Oregon with significant barriers to getting support--and we are on a mission to change that in those communities."
Here's a look at the key findings from the report, courtesy of the CJC:
- The Oregon DOJ’s hotline received 1,101 total reports. For reports from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020 when the Hotline began tracking response time, 26% of reports were responded to immediately, 69% were responded to within a day, and all but one was responded to within a week.
- From May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020 when the Hotline began tracking information on referrals and services provided to victims, hotline advocates made 2,001 contacts with victims to provide emotional support and crisis intervention. Hotline advocates also made 684 referrals to services, and engaged in individual advocacy 701 times.
- From July 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, Multnomah County, Lane County, and Benton County collected prosecution data. In those three counties, there were a total of 31 bias crimes referred for consideration of criminal prosecution by law enforcement agencies. Of those 31 referrals, 27 cases were filed as bias crimes, and 16 have been indicted as Bias Crime in the First Degree felonies. However, 18 of those cases remain open awaiting trial or adjudication.
- Statewide data from the Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) indicate that in 2020 there were 78 arrests with a charge of Bias Crime in the First Degree (ORS 166.165) or Bias Crime in the Second Degree (ORS 166.155).
- According to statewide data from the Oregon DOC, 18 defendants were convicted of a Bias Crime in the First or Second Degree in 2020. Of those, 17 were sentenced to probation, and 1 received a prison sentence.
Here are the recommendations from the CJC:
- Increased staffing for DOJ’s hotline.
- More training for law enforcement to ensure that bias crimes and incidents are properly reported, investigated and prosecuted, and that victims are referred to appropriate services.
- Continued efforts to educate the community about Oregon’s bias crime laws, the Hotline and the resources available to victims and survivors.
Hotline contact information
Any victim or witness of a bias incident or a hate crime can visit www.StandAgainstHate.Oregon.Gov or call Oregon DOJ’s Bias Response Hotline at 1-844-924-BIAS (2427). The Hotline accepts all Relay calls and has access to 240+ interpreters to report an incident and talk with trained staff.