Law Enforcement Agencies Across the U.S. Standing Up to Hate Crimes

Fifty-four agencies have accepted a national law enforcement challenge to release open data on hate and bias-motivated crime, making the data more accessible to communities 

May 30, 2018 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) — As of May 2018, more than 50 police agencies have chosen to participate in an unprecedented national law enforcement movement to release open data on hate and bias crime. The Police Foundation’s initiative marks an important step by police departments to promote transparency and collaboration with the communities they serve and increase awareness about hate crime. Although hate crime information submitted by some law enforcement agencies is published by the federal government annually, by participating in this initiative, agencies are committed to making the data more accessible to their communities and in a more timely manner.

Hate crimes are often underreported and consequently not well documented. By releasing this information to the public in the form of open data, agencies can help narrow the reporting gap, call more attention to the problem in an effort to better prevent these incidents, and set a foundation for two-way engagement and problem-solving between law enforcement and the community. More accurate reporting will ultimately lead to a better understanding of hate crime in the United States, which in turn will enable informed decision-making around preventing and addressing this type of offense.

“Hate and bias crimes affect many citizens,” said Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, Montgomery County Police. “By making the data from these incidents public through open data reporting, all residents can be aware of these incidents and work together with law enforcement to help the community overcome and prevent hate crimes.”

A list of the 54 participating law enforcement agencies.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was a key partner to the Police Foundation in this initiative through active outreach to agencies across the country.

“The importance of this initiative lies not in earlier access to data, but in the statement open data makes about law enforcement’s commitment to fighting hate crimes,” said David Friedman, VP of Law Enforcement and Community Security, ADL.

Agencies unfamiliar with the practice of releasing open data on hate crimes can access the Police Foundation’s guide: Releasing Open Data on Hate Crimes: A Best Practices Guide for Law Enforcement, which includes case studies of other departments who released open hate crime data in their jurisdictions.

“We applaud these law enforcement agencies for their commitment to public safety as they draw attention to the unacceptable problem of hate crimes,” said Jim Bueermann, President, Police Foundation. “Better hate crime data will position agencies and communities to take a stronger stance against these types of crimes.”

Established in 1970, the Police Foundation is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to improving policing through innovation and science. For 48 years, the Foundation has conducted research on all aspects of policing and is leading the way in promoting and sharing evidence-based practices and innovation among law enforcement. The Foundation is currently working with hundreds of police agencies nationwide, as well as internationally, providing research and translation, training, technical assistance, and modern technology implementation. The Foundation is a leader in officer safety and wellness, community policing, open-data, investigations, and law-enforcement technology. The Foundation’s main goal is to improve the way police do their work and the delivery of police services, in order to benefit officers and the communities they serve, as well as reduce crime.  

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If you would like more information on open data and policing, please contact Garrett Johnson, Research Assistant, Police Foundation, by email at gjohnson@policefoundation.org or by phone at 202-833-1460. You may also visit the Police Foundation main website at www.policefoundation.org.

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