Over 20% of Law Enforcement Agencies Fail to Report Hate Crimes in IllinoisPublished: Jun 13, 2016, by in Constitutional Rights
Historically as a nation, we have moved away from many practices that seek to discriminate an individual on unjustifiable grounds, a hate crime is still a big concern in the country and in particular Illinois. A hate crime involves the physical harm to a person and property that is motived by the victim’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other similar factors.
To keep track of such crimes, law enforcement agencies are required to make annual reports about hate crimes committed in their community. However, recent reports reveal that more the 20% of agencies in Illinois have failed to make this report. This has resulted in some concern as to whether the lack of reporting is indicative of the absence of such crimes or just plain lack of compliance.
Why The Lack of Reporting by Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies for all states are required to submit an annual report to the FBI in relation to all hate crimes committed in their community. For the years, 2009 to 2014, the state of Illinois had 20% non-compliance. This statistic is in keeping with the nationwide non-compliance of 17%. But why?
In many instances, the agencies who have failed to make the necessary reports blamed human resource issues. Police departments with limited manpower just did not have enough time to prepare the report. With the priority on fighting and preventing crime, completing a report seem to be an administrative task that just got left behind.
In other police departments, officials site ignorance of the requirement to report such crimes to the FBI and others indicated that they did not file a report because there was none. Nevertheless, the requirement to report includes documenting that no such crimes occurred in that year.
Hate crime advocates are particularly concerned about this discovery since their message has always been that such crimes get swept under the rug and are often not counted as hate crimes. However, since the reporting was voluntary, there is no action that can be taken in relation to those agencies who have failed to report over the years. But that will change soon.
New Law to Mandate Compliance with Hate Crime Reporting
Despite the fact that Illinois compliance is better than a number of other states, there is a need to ensure that non-compliance with the requirement to report hate crimes is at a minimal or none at all. To do so, the state will be putting into law legislation that will force agencies to make the necessary report to the FBI. Failure to comply will result in the loss of critical
funding for such law enforcement agencies.
The new law will take effect in January 2017. Illinois will join other states that implement financial penalties for failure to carry out the necessary reporting of hate crime.
If you or someone you know is being unjustly accused of a hate crime, call O’Meara Law LLC, criminal defense attorney O’Meara to fight for you. Free consultation available at 312-909-0706.