The number of hate and bias crimes and non-criminal incidents in Eugene has increased from 59 to 82 between 2015 and 2016, according to the latest report released Thursday.
Eugene’s fourth yearly Hate and Bias Report was presented in front of the historic Mims house, the first African American owned property in the city. Jennifer Lleras Van Der Haeghen from Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement says it’s hard to say exactly why rates are up.
“One of our hopes is that community members are feeling more comfortable reporting hate and bias crimes to police and our office and are able to make those reports in the first place,” says Lleras Van Der Haeghen. “Nationally hate and bias crimes have increased across the country in the last 18 months or so, and so we are not outside of what’s happening in the national context.”
According to the report, race continues to be the lead motivating factor for hate and bias activity. African Americans are affected at a disproportional rate to the rest of the Eugene community. The report found that in 2016, 36 percent of hate crimes were perpetrated against African Americans.