Letters to the Editor

How we handle hate crimes is key

Hate crimes are important: They are message crimes that reverberate in communities and have a far wider impact than regular crimes because they harm not only the victim but also the community sharing the victim's immutable characteristic.

Hate crimes matter, especially if they are not handled correctly. Because of this, I was pleased to see the Sun Herald's recent coverage of the problems by reporting hate crimes in Mississippi. The article got it right: Reporting from both sides is the key to correcting the problem of underreporting hate crimes in Mississippi.

Law enforcement has an obligation to handle these personal, terrifying crimes correctly, and the community needs to trust law enforcement by sharing the full story of their cases. That's why we at the Anti-Defamation League have been actively training law enforcement agents in Mississippi about hate crimes to ensure that these crimes get handled correctly.

ADL is a 103-year-old civil rights and human relations agency that has been at the forefront of hate crimes law advocacy. ADL has provided training to hundreds of law enforcement agents in Mississippi for the past two years, and we will continue to rigorously work with law enforcement to support Mississippi in improving the reporting of hate crimes.

We are happy to be an active resource for law enforcement and the community, and we look forward to working with others in ensuring that hate crimes are taken seriously and handled effectively in Mississippi.


New Orleans