Dunn renews efforts to establish hate crime reporting system

King County Council Member Reagan Dunn

On Thursday, King County Councilman Reagan Dunn reintroduced legislation that would begin to establish a countywide hate crime reporting system as well as an awareness campaign to combat the rise reported and unreported hate crimes in King County.

“While hate and bias crimes have reached record highs in King County, they are still known to be underreported,” Dunn said. “A dedicated reporting system would increase access to justice for all communities by providing a direct way to report incidents of hate crimes. An expansion of a community program like this is what our county needs to begin making a dent in the crimes that affect our residents.

The renewed effort comes after months of conversations with community partners, like the King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias, to ensure the legislation meets the needs of the communities it aims to serve.

Since 2020, King County has experienced a high number of hate and bias incidents. According to the King County District Attorney’s Office, 92 hate crime cases were filed during that time – still more than the pre-COVID average. Yet these numbers often do not accurately detail incidents of hate and prejudice that have occurred in the community. Studies have shown that many of these incidents go unreported. The King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias has sadly recorded 542 incidents since its formation in mid-2020, collected through its Hate and Bias Incident Response Survey.

If Dunn’s legislation is approved, the county will convene a task force to develop a plan to expand a Stop Hate community hotline to include phone and online web portals for reporting hate crimes and motivated incidents. by hate. Additionally, the plan would include both incident reporting requirements for data collection purposes and an associated public awareness campaign. The task force would include staff from the Department of Community and Social Services, Public Health – Seattle and King County, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and representatives from the King County Coalition Against Hate and Bias.

The bill will be heard by the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee in the coming weeks.

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