NYC hate crime prevention office to open months ahead of schedule

NYC hate crime prevention office to open months ahead of schedule
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A New York office aimed at preventing hate crimes will open this summer, months ahead of schedule, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) office announced Tuesday.

The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OHPC) will coordinate responses to hate crimes across various city agencies, including the district attorneys' offices, the Department of Probation, the police department, the Department of Education, the Commission on Human Rights and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, according to the announcement.

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"The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will work to root out hate and make our streets safer, which is why we’re moving up the timeline and opening the office months ahead of schedule," de Blasio, a 2020 presidential candidate, said in a statement. "We will never stand idly by while our fellow New Yorkers are targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other quality that makes them who they are."

The OPHC will also support training for the city's police department to address concerns specific to LGBTQ residents and immigrant communities and improve the reporting of hate crimes in addition to improving data collection and sharing between the police and the district attorneys' offices.

The New York City Council established the office in January. The most recent NYPD data indicates hate crimes in the city have increased by 64 percent since 2018, with 60 percent of those incidents motivated by anti-Semitism.

"These numbers are simply unacceptable," said Evan R. Bernstein, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League for New York and New Jersey said in a statement. "Hate crimes demand priority attention because of their special impact; not only do they cause substantial harm to the victim, but they damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities. We are grateful to all City leaders and community members who come together today to send a strong and unified message that hatred and bigotry will not be tolerated in our city."