- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Federal records show New York law enforcement agencies are among the most reliable in the nation at participating in a voluntary program of reporting hate crimes.

An Associated Press review of records filed with the FBI from 2009 to 2014 show only 22 of the 512 agencies in New York failed to report, a rate of 4.3 percent. That compares to 17 percent nationally based on the analysis that found more than 2,700 agencies failed to file a single report. More than half of the agencies in Louisiana, Indiana and Mississippi failed to report.

Most of the New York agencies that didn’t file reports are in small communities, 15 of them village police departments with fewer than 10 officers and some as few as one.

The exception is the sheriff’s department in populous Nassau County on Long Island. But that agency is primarily responsible for the county jail and doesn’t have a road patrol or investigative role. That’s handled by the county police department.

Still, the FBI encourages such agencies to report because they employ sworn officers with arrest powers.

The Nassau Sheriff’s Office said there was nobody who could respond to an inquiry about its policy and a spokesman for the county police, which does file hate crime reports, said he didn’t know if they included incidents at the jail.

The police departments in all of New York’s major cities comply with the hate crime reporting under the Uniform Crime Reporting program.

Advocates say better accounting of hate crimes would increase awareness and force state and federal lawmakers to dedicate more money and resources to law enforcement training and community outreach.

Congress passed a law in 1930 authorizing the attorney general to compile crime statistics. Law enforcement agencies representing cities, counties, tribes, states, federal offices and colleges participate in the program, which remains voluntary.

The Hate Crime Statistics Act, passed by Congress in 1990, required the attorney general to collect data “about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” It was amended in 1994 to include bias against people with disabilities and again in 2009 to include information about crimes based on gender or gender identity.


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