Maryland Attorney General Announces New Portal for Reporting Hate Crimes: 'a Safe Space to Speak Up.'

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown unveiled a cutting-edge online platform on Tuesday, aimed at addressing hate crimes and hate bias incidents. The initiative aims to combat hate and encourage the reporting of such crimes, ultimately reducing the number of unreported incidents.

According to a press release, the portal provides victims and witnesses with an additional reporting method after they call 911. People have the option to submit reports anonymously or with their name attached. They can also find various resources, guidance, and access hate bias reports from previous years. The website development project started in July 2023 in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Information Technology.

Victims of hate crimes no longer need to suffer in silence, as the issue of underreporting and underestimation is being addressed. “I am listening,” Brown stated in the release. This new platform provides a secure environment for individuals to express their thoughts and opinions. Understanding the extent of these incidents is crucial for effective resolution.

Brown emphasized in the release that enhancing the safety of the state is one of his primary concerns, stating, “Maryland must be a place free from any form of hatred.” Reports will provide valuable information for tracking the frequency and patterns of hate crimes and hate bias incidents.

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As per the latest report from the Office of the Attorney General, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of hate crimes and hate bias incidents in Maryland. The figures have risen from 388 in 2021 to 465 in 2022. However, it is important to note that a significant number of these incidents still remain unreported.

According to a statement from Jennifer Donelan, spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, the portal is part of a comprehensive strategy to combat hate crimes and bias incidents.

Additional aspects encompass the Maryland Commission on Hate Crimes Response and Prevention, forums for reporting regional hate bias incidents, and the provision of training for law enforcement and prosecutors. A new assistant attorney general has been hired to prioritize anti-hate initiatives.

Efforts to combat the rise of hate crimes in the state have received support from a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice. Maryland State Police are actively developing a training platform, according to Donelan.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention will use the information gathered from the new online portal to develop recommendations aimed at enhancing the state’s response to hate crimes.

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