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Most Indiana Police Agencies Do Not File Hate Crime Reports

A Bloomington woman's car was vandalized with the Star of David sign, commonly used as a symbol for the Jewish religion.

More than half of Indiana’s police agencies failed to file hate crime reports with the FBI between 2009 and 2014, a trend advocates say is a reason why Indiana needs to pass a hate crimes law.

An analysis by The Associated Press found that 52 percent of Indiana’s 535 police agencies didn’t file hate crimes reports with the FBI in that six-year span.

That’s three times the national average of 17 percent. Indiana has the nation’s third-highest percentage of police agencies that didn’t file the voluntary reports.

Indiana is one of five states without hate crimes laws. Indiana’s Senate approved hate crimes legislation earlier this year, but the House never acted on that proposal.

Proponents of that legislation say the state’s incomplete reporting is one reason Indiana needs such a law.

The AP analysis revealed that law enforcement reporting is spotty even beyond the more than 2,700 agencies that never filed even a single hate crime report.

For example, thousands of city police and county sheriff’s departments — which handle the vast majority of local law enforcement responses and investigations — reported in some years but not others. And, in some cases, departments reported for, say, only one quarter of a year without submitting reports covering the rest of that span.

It’s not just law enforcement departments that fail to report hate crimes. Many victims do not report them either.

The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics projected that just 40 percent of the “hate crime victimizations” it recorded in 2012 were reported to authorities.

Among the top reasons given for staying silent, the agency said: fears of reprisals, a feeling that “police could not or would not help,” or the incident being considered a personal or private matter.

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