From Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl:
The state Comptroller’s Office will audit New York’s system for documenting hate crimes after recent data showed a sharp increase across the state, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Friday.
A November report from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services showed hate crimes in New York grew 30 percent between 2011 and 2012, to a total of 720 incidents last year.
Outside of New York City, hate-crime incidents jumped 18 percent, to a total of 331.
“Hatred against people because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation has no place in a civil society,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “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.”
In a letter to Michael Green, the former Monroe County district attorney who now heads DCJS, DiNapoli’s office said it would begin its review next week.
There was no immediate comment from DCJS, which collects and tracks crime and police data for the state. Updated: Janine Kava, a DCJS spokeswoman, said the division has taken a number of steps to help local police agencies provide accurate numbers. The division, she said, is “confident that we have accurately reported information as it has been reported to us.”
DCJS “will cooperate with the Comptroller’s Office as it moves forward with this audit, as it does whenever the agency decides to pursue an audit,” Kava said in a statement.
In announcing the audit, the Comptroller’s Office cited a recent report from Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, which questioned whether law enforcement agencies were adequately identifying and reporting hate crimes.
There’s no enforcement mechanism in place if local police don’t accurately report crimes motivated by race, gender or sexual orientation to the state, the report found.
“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,” Hoylman said in a statement.
DCJS found hate crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community rose 13 percent in 2012 in New York City while and the Anti-Defamation League found there was 27 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the state, according to Hoylman’s report.