TARGET 8: Number of reported hate crimes down across state

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COLUMBIA – The number of reported hate crimes have gone down across Missouri in the past five years, at least according to data obtained by KOMU 8 News.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol hate crimes have declined by almost half, from 2010 to 2015.

Of the hate crimes in 2015, Columbia reported the second most hate crimes with a total of six. Four of them were reported at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

KOMU 8 News ran stories that featured at least three reported hate crimes since August on campus, but the data given to KOMU 8 News did not show those numbers.

However, the University of Missouri Police Department said there were several additional hate crimes filed after August, but the Missouri Highway Patrol has not confirmed that and it was not in the data given.

Meanwhile, the number of hate crimes motivated by anti-African American bias has also declined in the same time period.

Of all Missouri cities, Kansas City has the highest number of reported hate crimes.

In 2015, Kansas City reported 23 hate crimes, accounting for more than one third of the state total of 64.

News articles painted Kansas City as a city that should not be surprised by these high numbers. Other articles said hate crimes were on the rise in Kansas City, and residents were wanting a call to action.

According to Kansas City Police Captain Tye Grant, those numbers are so high because of the diligence put into reporting those crimes.

“Well I know that we report and make sure we report anything that meets the criteria as a hate crime and do the due diligence to make sure we’re not missing anything,” Grant said.

When asked if he thought other agencies may be under-reporting for perception or other reason, Grant said he doesn’t know how other agencies report bias or hate crimes, but he does know the Kansas City Police Department is as transparent as it can be. 

“I don’t know specifically how other places do it, I can only talk about the way we do it. I do know that our numbers suggest that we either have more bias crime or hate crime or at least we report more of it than other places. I don’t believe that’s because we have more of it, I just know that we do our due diligence that it’s being reported,” Grant said.

According to the data given to KOMU 8 News, it showed Jefferson City had no hate crimes reported in the past six years.

To see if the police department was under reporting, or had no hate crimes reported to them, we asked Jefferson City Police Captain Shoemaker if he thought hate crimes happen in the area.

“Do they occur, I would guess yes certainly they occur but whether they’re reported to us I have a feeling they are very much under reported if reported at all in terms of hate crimes,” Shoemaker said.

In order for hate crime to be documented, it must be reported by either the suspect or the victim.

"If it’s not reported by the victim in that regard or any sort of feeling from the suspect during the interviews that detectives or officers might have with them, it may be a very difficult element to prove to take it to that next level of a hate crime,” Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker also said that victimization is a big concern, and if that occurs that it should be reported.

Of all hate crimes reported in Missouri, intimidation ranks the highest, followed by assault.

Our heat map shows you which crimes were reported, where, when, and how those numbers compare across the state.

Editor's note: The data provided by MSHP for this story was found to be incomplete for the year 2015. The data had not yet been fully submitted and finalized upon fulfillment of the records request and subsequent release to KOMU 8 News. The data for 2015 therefore may be missing some reports from the final three months of the year, as well as any modifications on earlier data. MSHP is working to release newly-vetted and complete data from 2015 to the Target 8 team, and we will update this story with the most current and accurate numbers as soon as the data is received.