Division of Criminal Justice Services

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Division of Criminal Justice Services
Hate Crime Reporting


Issued: September 25, 2014
Link to full audit report 2013-S-67

Purpose
To determine whether the Division of Criminal Justice Services (Division) adequately monitors hate crime reporting and takes steps to ensure complete and accurate reporting. The audit covered the period January 1, 2010 through March 12, 2014.

Background
New York State Executive Law requires all State, city, and local police agencies (agencies) to report crime data, including hate crimes, to the Division. Crimes are defined as hate based when the victims are believed to have been targeted due to their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Hate crime incidents that agencies report to the Division include data, such as the number of incident(s) reported, date of the incident(s), bias motivation, and both victim and offender demographics. The Division submits this data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for its collection and publication.

Hate crimes are underreported because the crimes themselves are not reported, the initial officer does not identify the crime as containing a bias motivator, or the agency does not submit its hate crime incident report to the Division. When agencies do not report hate crimes during a reporting period, Division policy is to contact each delinquent agency at least three times via e-mail. As of March 11, 2014, the Division had data for 2,601 hate crimes that occurred in New York State during the period of January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2013. This audit does not address whether each police agency accurately reports hate crimes to the Division.

Key Findings

  • Overall, we found the Division adequately monitors hate crime reporting, and it accurately and completely reports hate crime data that it receives.
  • The Division only reports a single bias even when an agency reports multiple biases involved in a crime. The Divisions system has a limitation that only allows staff to only record one bias per incident. Although multiple bias incidents appear to be relatively rare, only by tracking them will stakeholders be able to monitor trends and detect changes.

Key Recommendation

  • Determine the feasibility of amending the database program code to allow for reporting of multiple biases.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest

New York City Police Department: Reporting and Utilization of Bias Incident Data (2014-N-2)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 473-4271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236