I am pleased to report that New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli will be conducting an audit of the State Hate Crimes Law, based on a recommendation from my State Senate report and forum on the topic this summer. The audit will examine whether law enforcement agencies properly identify and report hate crimes in accordance with state law, and if they effectively train their officers to do so. Comptroller DiNapoli should be applauded for his leadership on this issue, the first time the Hate Crimes Law has been audited in its 13-year history. This decision by the comptroller is particularly important given the 30% rise in hate crimes statewide last year. The most frequent have crimes were against individuals based on their sexual orientation, representing 26% of the total, followed by 25% of the incidents against African-Americans, and 22% that were anti-Jewish.
Comptroller DiNapoli’s press release is below:
From the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Thomas P. DiNapoli
For release: Immediately, Dec. 6, 2013
DiNAPOLI TO AUDIT HATE CRIME REPORTING IN NEW YORK STATE
The Office of the State Comptroller is auditing the Division of Criminal Justice Services’ oversight and management of hate crime reporting across the state, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today.
“Hate crime is a very serious issue and recent media reports indicate these heinous incidents are on the rise,” DiNapoli said. “Hatred against people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation has no place in a civil society. We need to make sure police departments across the state are reporting these incidents correctly and that they are being trained to handle the crimes properly and effectively.”
The audit was launched partly in response to a request from state Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan who issued a report earlier this year raising questions regarding whether law enforcement agencies properly identify and report hate crimes in accordance with state law, and also effectively train their officers to do so.
“I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli’s proactive approach in combating the statewide scourge of hate crimes. In the last year alone, hate crimes in the state have increased by 30 percent, including violence directed at LGBT, African-American and Jewish New Yorkers,” Hoylman said. “The Comptroller’s decision to audit the implementation of the state Hate Crimes Law will help us ensure law enforcement is responding properly so we can deter such crimes.”
According to Hoylman’s report, the Anti-Defamation League reported there was a 27 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the state in 2012. Data collected by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services show there have been thousands of hate crimes in New York over the last thirteen years whose victims were targeted due to their real or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.
For a copy of the audit engagement letter visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/docs/engagement_ltr_dcjs_hate_crimes.pdf.