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STATE HOUSE–States with hate crime laws do have more hate crimes reported, says a new study by the Center for Research on Inclusion & Social Policy (CRISP) at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute. Their belief is that Indiana could go deeper than just passing a bias crimes bill and also require data collection.

“This is primarily because there hasn’t been a way incorporated in other legislation that actively tries to assess how well those laws are working,” said Prof. Breanca Merritt, founding director of the Center.

She said the findings of the Center are that bias crimes likely happen more often than they are reported, and that having a component that requires the prosecutor or police to report whether or not a crime is likely a hate crime, could help determine how well and how often those crimes are prosecuted.

“Our research suggests that if there were more opportunities for more data collection, and evaluation, we might be able to better see the effectiveness of these types of policies,” said Merritt.

She noted that legislation being considered in Indiana this year does not include a provision for the requirement of data collection. 

“Yet a bill can include language that both helps potential victims while increasing knowledge for policymakers. Including language that calls for continued assessment of a hate crimes bill and support for victim groups could better inform policymakers long-term.”

The bill being considered now leaves out a list of people who might be considered victims of hate crimes.

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis