Legislation to establish a county-wide hate crime reporting system and awareness campaign passed Tuesday out of the King County Council’s Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services Committee.
Legislation to establish a county-wide hate crime reporting system and awareness campaign passed Tuesday out of the King County Council’s Law, Justice, Health, and Human Services Committee. Introduced by Councilmember Reagan Dunn, the proposal comes in response to both a rise in reported and unreported hate crimes in King County.
“Crimes motivated by hate and bias have surged to record-setting levels across King County, and yet we know that the vast majority these incidents still go underreported,” Dunn said. “An expansion of a community-based reporting system is what our county needs in order to assist victims who may not otherwise file a police report. I am thankful to my colleagues for supporting this effort to increase justice for all residents in our communities by establishing a dedicated hate crime reporting system.”
Since 2020, King County has seen elevated incidents of hate and bias. According to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, there has been a total of 95 filed cases involving hate crimes in that time period. Yet, these numbers often do not accurately reflect the full scope of hate and bias. Studies have shown many of these incidents go unreported. The King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias has recorded over 542 incidents since its formation in the middle of 2020, collected through its Hate and Bias Incident Response Survey.
If the proposal is approved by the full council, King County would work to expand a community-based Stop Hate Hotline to include telephone and web-based online portals for reporting hate crimes and hate incidents. The workgroup would be led by King County’s Office of Equity and Social Justice and include members from various King County groups and agencies including the Coalition Against Hate and Bias and the Department of Community and Health Services. In addition, the plan, as established in the legislation, would include both incident reporting requirements for data collection purposes and an attendant public awareness campaign.
The legislation will now go to a vote of the full Council on September 13.