Reported hate crimes rose 380 percent in Eugene over four years — the highest increase in any city in the U.S., according to a new study by SafeHome.org.
The majority — 64 percent — of those crimes targeted race. Another 17 percent targeted religion and 12 percent targeted sexual orientation. Gender and disabilities were also targeted at 1 percent each.
Hate crime reports in Oregon increased at the sixth-highest rate in the country as well, at 125 percent.
The study analyzed the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics from 2013 to 2017 and surveyed 425 people mostly between the ages of 26 and 49 “on a range of topics related to their personal experiences with hate crimes and harassment,” according to the study.
“How can individuals use their resources to prevent hate crimes?” the study asked. “Perhaps the most important aspect is simply reporting these incidents. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of hate crime incidents occur every year, but only a tiny fraction are reported to police. Having a better understanding of the scope of this issue could help spur swifter and more effective political action.”
The study noted that 20 million people live in areas that do not report hate crime statistics or submit incomplete data to the FBI, so the study is imperfect. “Plus, it’s estimated that hate crimes are grossly underreported — the Bureau of Justice Statistics has estimated about two-thirds of hate crimes are not reported to police,” the report states.
The study did not note differences in reporting hate crimes by jurisdiction. The Eugene Police and local community have fought to raise awareness about hate crimes in Eugene, which may have contributed to the increasing reports. Eugene’s most recent Hate and Bias report showed a 42 percent decrease in reported hate crimes in 2018.