Piscataway, N.J. - Speaking today on a panel at the Rutgers Presidential Symposium: “Fighting Hate While Preserving Freedom: A Best Practices Forum,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal discussed newly released statistics from the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit’s 29th annual Bias Incident Report. The report is based on information submitted by every law enforcement agency in the state. The report shows an increase in bias incidents over the prior year.
Prior to 1988, no agency within New Jersey had collected complete data on bias incidents. As a result, a committee was created to develop a comprehensive statewide reporting system. Due to the committee’s recommendation, Attorney General Executive Directive 1987-3 was issued mandating that all New Jersey law enforcement agencies begin reporting bias incident offenses to the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit on a monthly basis effective January 1, 1988.
The data collected in the Bias Incident Report serves as a tool to identify problems, recognize trends and assist with working toward solutions.
In 2016, New Jersey law enforcement agencies reported in 417 bias incident offenses, a 14 percent increase compared to 2015.
“It’s sad that we see bias incidents trending upward, but it’s not surprising, given that we have political leaders in this country who encourage the expression of intolerance and hatred, or in other cases, ignore or countenance it,” said Attorney General Grewal. “What we need to do, as individuals and as a society, is to push back against this prejudice. We need to embrace the diversity that makes us stronger as a state and a nation, and we need to spread a countervailing message of tolerance and unity. To quote Nelson Mandela, ‘No one is born hating another person.’ If people can learn to hate, they also can learn to love and respect one another.”
“The tracking and reporting of these incidents paint a disturbing picture of intolerance, discrimination and their corresponding criminal acts,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “All residents of this great state should feel free to be who they are without the fear of being victimized because of their race, religion or any other identifiable status. The Bias Incident Report will enable law enforcement to work collaboratively and more effectively to investigate these incidents and identify the perpetrators.”
Bias Incident Statistical Summary:
- New Jersey law enforcement agencies reported 386 bias incident investigations, resulting in 417 target-type based bias incident offenses in 2016 a 14% increase compared to 2015.
- Harassment accounted for 45% (186) of all bias incident offenses.
- Criminal mischief and damage to property accounted for 34% (143) of all bias incident offenses.
- Racial bias accounted for 41% (171) of all bias incident crimes in 2016.
- The target category of person (incidents when the conduct was against a person, as opposed to conduct against private property or public property) accounted for 60% (249) of all bias offenses.
- The Black race represented the most frequent racial group victimized by bias crime, accounting for 30% (127) of all bias offenses.
- The Jewish religion represented the most frequent religious group victimized by bias crime, accounting for 30% (124) of all bias offenses.
- The Hispanic ethnicity represented the most frequent ethnic group victimized by bias crime, accounting for 3% (13) of all bias offenses.
- The most frequent day of occurrence was Friday (75 offenses).
- The most frequent month of occurrence was March (49 offenses).
- Schools were the most frequent locations of bias incidences, where 27% (112 offenses) of all bias incidents occurred.
- Forty-three percent (181) of all bias incident offenses were cleared, with 13% (55) being cleared by arrest.
- A total of 55 arrests (40 adults and 15 juveniles) were made resulting from bias incidents. Compared to 2015, arrests increased 10 percent.
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