As we’ve reported, hate crimes have made some cameo appearances in the mayor’s race this year, with Ed Murray suggesting that we as a city have “taken our eye” off of gay bashing. As recently as last week, Murray appeared at a roundtable discussion on how to address the issue on Capitol Hill.
His contentions are backed up by plenty of anecdotal evidence – and one ghastly attack on one of his own campaign workers, Jason Jacobs. But new stats provided to SW by the Seattle Police Department suggest that hate crimes as a whole are actually down this year compared to last.
As of mid-August (around the time Murray made his initial statements), there had been eight fewer hate-crime arrests, according to SPD: 80 vs. 72.
There have been five fewer arrests for malicious harassment – Washington’s hate-crime law -- so far this year (20 vs. 25), though the number of crimes with an expressed bias recorded by SPD is slightly up (33 vs. 28). There have been eight fewer incidents of non-criminal bias this year.
The Murray campaign didn’t dispute the stats, but maintained the issue is real.
Campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik told SW that “there is a sense that the incidents recently have been more serious and more violent, like the attack on Jason Jacobs.”
“That is what is driving a lot of the recent concern that you’ve seen,” he said.
“And secondly, that people in the community are aware of some additional incidents that have gone unreported because victims are sometimes unwilling to step forward.”