The Feiner Report
Westchester County Would Be Best Served By Compiling a “Hate Crime Reporting Form” That Would Be Shared and Thereby Help to Track Hate Crimes and Its Offenders
GREENBURGH, NY — 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” be instituted that would enable us to track hate crimes. I suggest that a meeting of government officials, the police, representatives of the DA’s 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 such a formare the following suggestions: more about collecting data on the crimes. It would work very much akin to a “domestic violence” report which states if/when police respond to a crime. And if there is any element of hate, they must record the following:
– The location
– The offense (graffiti, hate speech, physical violence,…)
– The victim (e.g. 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 regard to Domestic Violence, information is given about local resources; with this, my thought was always that 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 District Attorney’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 LGBTQIA community as well as the Westchester Human Rights offices, the Governor’s office, the County Executive’s office.
This suggestion was originally made to me by human rights activist Jodie Reaver. The point of collecting the data is to begin to understand it is occurring in our localities. Once that is understood then perhaps education and outreach can occur to address the underlying causes of hate.