With increased reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans, advocates for a bill that would expand protections and increase penalties for such crimes said accurate documentation is important to tracking and curtailing them.
Under Senate bill 439, local law enforcement agencies would be required to report hate crimes to the SBI monthly, and the SBI would issue an annual report.
The bill would provide the means to properly identify, track and respond to hate crimes, Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam said at a news conference Tuesday.
Training for law enforcement officers would be required.
“For too long, hate crimes have been swept under the rug and ignored,” she said.
The bill would expand protections against hate crimes based on ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or sexual orientation.
FBI hate crime statistics for 2020 are not yet published.
In an interview, Ricky Leung, senior director of programs at North Carolina Asian Americans Together, said FBI statistics undercount hate crimes.
Stop AAPI Hate started documenting hate crimes with the wave of attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that began soon after the virus that causes COVID-19 was detected in the United States. The group counted 3,795 incidents from last March until February 2021. Eleven percent were assaults.