WPCNR THE LETTER TICKER. By Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor. October 13, 2019:
A PROPOSAL TO HELP COMBAT HATE CRIMES–POLICE, WESTCHESTER SHOULD COMPILE A HATE CRIME REPORTING FORM THAT WOULD BE SHARED AND HELP US TRACK HATE CRIMES
Our county has experienced numerous Anti Semitic incidents in recent months. Scarsdale, White Plains, Pleasantville have experienced Anti Semitic incidents in the last few weeks alone. The problem is escalating.
There have been rallies and commentaries expressing disgust at what has been happening but we need to do more than just be outraged.A suggestion that I think could help us deal with this crisis: a Hate Crime reporting form that would enable us to track hate crimes.
I suggest that a meeting of government officials, the police, representatives of the DAs office, and civic leaders be held to discuss implementation. The hate crime reporting form should be compiled by every law enforcement agency in the county and shared with each municipality. Much of the information should be made public.
To further outline what might be in the form these are suggestions: more about collecting data on the crimes.
It would work like domestic violence stating if police respond to a crime and there is any element of hate they must record:- the location- the offense (graffiti, hate speech, physical violence,..)- the victim (perhaps it is a person or a school facility or a monument)- how the incident/crime is categorized (so many are criminal mischief) or even if a charge is filed
A separate part that is equally as important is:- follow-up process with victim (with DV information is given about local resources, with this my thought was always the Westchester County Human Rights Commission is given as a resource, but there should be other resources listed)-
if the perpetrator is caught- punishment vs. initial charges
We need to first collect data to know what is happening and where. Just getting the police to respond to each incident and record it seems essential. The follow-up might really be with the DA’s office, which is why it is great that you are including them on the email.
I am going to copy the District Attorney of Westchester, the Jewish Council of Westchester, the Holocaust & Human Rights Center of Westchester, NAACP, WESPAC and Anti Defamation League and organizations that advocate for individuals of the Muslim faith, CAIR, AMWA and leaders of the LGBT community as well as the Westchester Human Rights offices, the Governor’s office, the County Executive.
This suggestion was originally made to me by human rights activist Jodie Reaver.
The point of collecting the data is to begin to understand t is occurring in our localities. Once that is understood then perhaps education and outreach can occur to address the underlying causes of hate.