- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - During a decade of reporting, Las Vegas reported an average of about 60 hate crimes a year to federal authorities, including a high of 105 incidents in 2006.

But there was a big drop in the most recent annual report to the FBI - from 65 reported bias cases in 2013, to 17 in 2014.

Pastor Troy Martinez, a church community leader, thinks that could be the result of outreach by police, elected officials and religious groups.

“There’s a lot of cross-cultural discussion in our community about equity and race relations,” Martinez said. “Filipino, black, white, Hispanic, Spanish-speaking. Maybe all of our joined efforts are making a difference.”

A review by The Associated Press of FBI hate crime statistics since 2009 found that most Nevada police agencies report race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity bias incidents to federal authorities most of the time.

But it found that some, including the sheriff’s offices in Washoe and Mineral counties, missed most of the six reporting years.

Washoe County sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon said his agency didn’t report any bias cases those years because it didn’t log any, as the crime is defined under Nevada state law. Harmon also insisted the department, based in Reno, sends an accounting to the FBI every year.

“Even though it’s zeros, we do submit the report,” he said.

An aide to Mineral County Sheriff Randy Adams in Hawthorne said she didn’t think there were any bias incidents to report. The county has only about 4,600 residents in an area larger than the state of Delaware.

Fourteen other Nevada law enforcement agencies, ranging from county sheriffs to police in Boulder City, Lovelock, Winnemucca and Yerington, missed three years of reports, according to the FBI data reviewed by AP.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was the only jurisdiction to report every year from 2009 to 2014.

That’s the goal, according to the FBI. It says that tracking hate crimes nationally increases awareness and understanding and can help focus training and outreach in problem areas.

Las Vegas police cover an area with more than 1.5 million of Nevada’s 2.5 million residents. Martinez said more and more of them are being reached by efforts like the interdenominational service he’ll host Sunday for more than 100 church representatives at his East Vegas Christian Center.

He pointed also to a Mayor’s Faith Initiative, which began in early 2012 with a goal of linking more than 120 faith leaders. It focuses on addiction, jobs, education, homelessness, human trafficking and strengthening family bonds.

Martinez also cited a police-community effort dubbed RECAP, or Rebuilding Every City Around Peace.

Martinez is active in a police multi-cultural advisory committee that meets monthly with representatives from police, the local school district, American Civil Liberties Union, Muslim mosques, Jewish temples and gay and lesbian groups.

“Just a few months ago, we dealt with a mosque that had been hit with graffiti,” he said. “I wasn’t necessarily hate speech. But the person was identified, an arrest was made and we made sure it wasn’t linked to a larger problem.”

By the next monthly meeting, the matter had been resolved, to the relief of mosque leaders, he said.

“If there’s an issue about hate crime, we nip it in in the bud,” he said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide