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New tool lets Hoosiers report hate crimes

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A new Indiana database allows victims and witnesses to report hate crimes or incidents of hate.

The tool arrives months after the last hate crime bill died in state legislature.

In South Bend, activists have been pushing for hate crime legislation for over a year, and hope the data collected with the new tool shows the demand for a law.

A large movement for legislation came after Jodie Henderson was killed by Jabreeh Davis-Martin in 2016.

“His murder was precipitated simply because he’s a gay man,” Darryl Heller, director of the South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center said.

Heller says crimes in the name of hate happen often, but few receive the attention Henderson’s death did.

“It happens behind closed doors. It happens in cases where it’s not reported as such,” Heller said.

The website allows Hoosiers to report the crimes as hate crimes

Although the form asks for a name, that information is kept private.

“We still would encourage the individual to contact police regarding the crime or the incident, and then we are collecting the data simply for our reporting mechanism,” Executive of Director Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Amy Nelson said.

The Central Alliance Against Hate created the tool, and is an offset of Fair Housing.

The group behind the tool says they hope to use the data to push for Indiana hate crime legislation.

Heller says he hopes the tool will have additional effects.

“More hate crimes occur than are reported. So any mechanism that allows more to be reported, people to be safer and to be less vulnerable is a positive thing,” Heller said.

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