EUGENE, Ore. -- A new study shows reports of hate crimes and non-criminal hate and bias activity dropped in Eugene during 2018, but police say the data may not accurately represent the issue.
According to the report, last year there were 81 bias crimes and non-criminal incidents reported, a 42 percent decrease compared to the number of incidents reported in 2017. Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis said having this data allows the city to accomplish their goal of making Eugene a welcoming and safe community for everyone but says one hate crime is one too many.
"We can't change what we don't understand," said Vinis. "We have to know what's happening if we are going to act on it, and this report helps us do that."
According to the Department of Justice's 2017 Crime Victimization Survey, 54 percent of hate crimes were not reported to police for various reasons. Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner said his office is continuing to build trust and confidence with minority groups.
"It pains me greatly to think about the victims that are underserved in our minority community because they don't trust us or have confidence in us," Skinner said. "It is my commitment to lead this organization to grow that trust and confidence."
According to the report, more than half of the 2018 reports were criminal cases and included 10 assaults and 14 vandalism incidents. Police made arrests in 13 cases and three are still open. More than 30 cases were suspended or labeled inactive with no leads.
Fabio Andrade, a human rights and equity analyst with the office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement, said he has experienced discrimination and urges victims to come forward.
"If we are receiving less reports, it might be an indicator that there are less cases in our city, so we celebrate the decline and know that we have a lot of work to do," Andrade said.
Reports can be made to Eugene Police. To report non-criminal activity, call the City Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement at 541-682-5177, or click here.
Below is the full report: