Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $800,000)
With the increased ability for communities to document hate crimes, such as the use of cell phone video footage and social media, the public has unprecedented access to the realities of bias crimes occurring in the United States. Consequently, while this type of crime is not new, reports are on the rise within the State of Oregon.
Clackamas County is the third most populous county in Oregon. In recent years, the county has experienced not only an increase in size and diversity, but in reported hate crimes as well. Clackamas County has seen a 366% increase in bias reports to the Oregon DOJ since 2020. According to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, this staggering increase accounts for only a small fraction of hate crimes, as 97% of bias incidents go unreported.
Based on this difference in DOJ reports versus the number of law enforcement referrals, we believe our current referral rate is nowhere near the reality of community members’ lived experience. Tackling this complex issue requires enhanced work in all areas of prevention, incident/crime response, and prosecution. We know that a significant factor in improving bias crime reporting and response is building trust with those directly impacted by hate incidents and crimes in our community.
The CCDA is operating in a time of tight budget constraints that have hindered our office’s ability to make strides in these essential areas of public safety and wellbeing for our community.
In light of these challenges, the CCDA is requesting funding for the following initiatives:
Creation and implementation of a District Attorney’s Community Advisory Council (CAC).
Development and implementation of a Bias Crimes Multi-Disciplinary Team (Bias Crimes MDT).
Development and dissemination of bias and discrimination training for law enforcement, CCDA employees, and partner agencies.
Participation in community outreach, including identifying community partner agencies serving groups impacted by bias crimes.
Building ongoing evaluation tools for continuous improvement and gathering community input.
These proposed efforts have received support from all local law enforcement agencies in Clackamas County as well as multiple community partners as documented in the letters of support.