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Hate crimes on the rise in Ohio, state lawmaker has plan to fight it

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - University Heights Police are investigating an anti-Semitic attack against an 8th-grade student who had just gotten off the school bus.

They are searching for the woman responsible for yelling a racial slur at the 13-year-old girl and throwing a glass beer bottle out the window.

Luckily the girl was not hit.

But the possible suspect’s car was caught on a neighbor’s doorbell camera.

“It was really shocking that someone would do that or even like think of doing that and at first it made me feel like unsafe,” the teenager told 19 News.

You can read the full story here.

This is just one report of hundreds of hate crime cases police see every year but not all cases are reported.

19 Investigates found hate crimes hit a record high in Ohio last year.

This case hit close to home for State Representative Casey Weinstein (D- Hudson).

“It’s deeply disturbing. I’ve got three young daughters myself, and the thought of them being targeted that way, we’re Jewish so, that scares me frankly as a father,” he said.

19 Investigates discovered in 2020, 580 hate crimes were reported in Ohio, a record for the state, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

The highest number before that was 471 cases in 2016.

Anti-Semitic incidents in Ohio rose to a 40-year high in 2020, the Anti-Defamation League said.

“It’s a problem that’s growing disproportionately in Ohio, I think it requires a targeted response that shows that we won’t accept this hatred here,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein has a plan to fight it.

He introduced House Bill 341 this summer that proposes starting a Hate Crimes Bureau in the Attorney General’s office that would lead independent investigations.

The bill would also create a statewide database of credible hate crime reports.

Weinstein said the problem is only escalating and Ohio should lead the way to find solutions.

“When we have the data to show that we’re at the forefront of the problem, we should be at the forefront of the solution,” Weinstein said.

Weinstein hopes this bill will gain bipartisan support.

So far it’s been referred to the criminal justice committee and

He hopes it will get more movement soon.

The recent data on hate crimes is still being validated with law enforcement agencies to verify each case was classified correctly as a hate crime, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

The numbers could come back slightly lower after that.

And keep in mind, it’s voluntary for police departments to submit these cases.

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