Capitol Hill Community Post | SPD Releases Bias Crimes Report for First Half of 2017

From the Seattle Police Department, September 12, 2017

Today the Seattle Police Department released its semiannual report detailing bias crimes and incidents for the first half of 2017. During this time, a total of 178 criminal and non-criminal bias based incidents were reported, up from the 128 incidents reported at the same time last year. The increase in reports can be attributed in large part to victims feeling more comfortable reporting bias crimes due to enhanced trust, improved reporting mechanisms and ongoing community outreach by the Department.

“SPD continues to be a national leader in investigating and reporting bias crimes as well as outreach to communities experiencing these acts,” said Chief of Police, Kathleen O’Toole. “In the spirit of transparency and accountability we continue to release these reports letting the community know that the Department works hard every day to make sure our most vulnerable victims are heard and we pursue the justice they deserve.”

Highlights from the report:

  • Bias crimes often occur between complete strangers and take victims by surprise. Many of them are property crimes committed anonymously under the cover of darkness. The Seattle Police Department’s clearance rate for these incidents is 39%. Many of these arrests are made by patrol officers arriving on the scene soon after an incident has occurred. Detectives work hard to locate suspects not found at the time of the incident. 13 cases from this period remain open and may be cleared by arrest.
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Seattle now has an anti-discrimination hotline

An effort to better document and respond to discrimination in the city includes a new Seattle hotline to call if you have been the victim of harassment:

Whether at home, at work, or in a public place, everyone is protected from discriminatory harassment.  Discriminatory harassment or violence is behavior that interferes with your civil rights and is directed at you because of your race, religion, gender and/or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, and more.  It can include: threats, slurs or epithets, intimidation or coercion, violence or use of force, damaging or defacing property and cyberbullying.

Reporting discriminatory harassment is easy, and can be done anonymously.  Call the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) to get started at 206-233-7100 or CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT OUR ONLINE COMPLAINT FORM

Officials say the hotline is an effort to augment existing public safety services — so definitely call 911 to report or a crime or if there is a dangerous situation. The hotline provides another avenue to make sure issues beyond law enforcement can be raised as quickly as possible.

Last month, CHS reported on SPD’s new bias crimes statistics dashboard and trends that capture the increase in reported incidents — thanks, in part, to a greater emphasis on reporting racial, sexual orientation, or religious harassment issues. Citywide in both 2016 and 2015, hate crimes against race were the most frequently reported followed by LGBTQ and religious incidents.

Officials from the Seattle Office for Civil Rights said the new hotline is also being accompanied by meetings with community groups and a media campaign to make sure citizens are aware of the resource.

You can learn more at seattle.gov.

With a stop at Charlie’s, SPD rolls out Safe Place anti-hate crime program

LGBTQ Liaison Officer Jim Ritter was on Broadway Tuesday afternoon to help Charlie’s on Broadway owner Ken Bauer affix his new Safe Place program sticker to the front door of the longtime Capitol Hill restaurant.

Ritter said Charlie’s was one of 50 Capitol Hill businesses to sign up for the new program designed to raise awareness of anti-LGBTQ hate crime — and give victims places to turn to if they find themselves feeling threatened. CHS wrote last week about the new program and the continued rise of bias crime totals that SPD officials say is a product of better tools, procedures, and reporting.

SPD has also launched SPDSAFEPLACE.com which is designed as a portal with information about bias crimes and prevention along with tools to help victims report incidents.

To be part of the program, owners like Bauer must pledge to prepare their businesses as safe harbors for victims and train employees:

By signing this commitment pledge I agree to use these decals/signs for their intended purpose by posting them on my premise. I further agree to instruct my organization’s employees to assist the victims and/or witnesses to anti-LGBTQ crimes by calling the police on their behalf and allowing them to remain on my premise until police arrive.

You can sign up to get the decals here. There are three versions of the rainbow badge you can choose from.

Blotter | Arrest in one ‘hateful’ assault on Hill, charges in another

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • ‘Hateful’ arrest on E Pine: SPD announced the arrest of a man police say attacked two victims early Sunday morning in a hate-filled assault in the 1000 block of E Pine:
    The two adult male victims told officers that they were walking past the suspect when he suddenly called them a hateful name and blew cigarette smoke at them. He then proceeded to spit on one of the victims and charged at them, causing the same physical altercation that the alert officer witnessed and disrupted. The victims informed officers that they believe the suspect confronted and attacked them based on their sexual orientation.
    Police say the suspect tried to escape by ducking into a nearby restaurant before he was eventually apprehended. The he was booked into King County Jail for felony malicious harassment assault.
  • Bias charges: The suspect in a similar attack last weekend on the Hill has been charged with one count of assault and one count of malicious harassment. Troy Burns, 37, was charged for threatening three men with a knife early last Sunday near Harvard and Pike and “yelling derogatory remarks about their sexual orientation.” According to investigators, Burns has been living in shelters, is addicted to drugs, and was on Capitol Hill to sell meth:Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.51.38 AMPolice say Burns told them he doesn’t remember the incident admitted he had “probably” attacked the men:Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 9.51.51 AMAccording to prosecutors, Burns criminal record includes convictions on drug charges, fourth degree assault, and hit and run.