City officials worry San Diegans are underreporting hate crimes

SAN DIEGO – Statistics show some hate crimes have slightly decreased in San Diego. But officials also are concerned it’s due to a lack of reporting.

On Tuesday, San Diego Pride held a forum with city officials to hear from San Diegans about their experiences surrounding hate crimes and any reservations or challenges when it comes to reporting hate crimes.

Some say they feel “unheard” when it comes to reporting hate crimes against them.

“A gentleman just screamed move out of my way f—– and just started pushing, and you know, hitting me and chased me across the rainbow crosswalk in fact,” one San Diegan said during the forum. “I felt very unheard from that officer who came to take my report. He was very dismissive and said nothing was going to happen.”

Mayor Todd Gloria, the first person of color and first openly gay person ever elected to the city’s top job, said that while hate crimes — particularly against the LGBTQ community — are down, he and others worry about incidents going underreported amid a national rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“There’s been training happening for years and I don’t know that anybody is seeing any result from that training, so what else can be done,” another San Diegan said in the forum.

City officials seemed to listen to concerns with open ears. They pointed to possible solutions to make minorities feel safer, including working with SDPD liaison officers, online reporting, more training and possibly adding more city positions such as a point person in the Office of Race and Equity.

“It would be nice for the city to consider establishing a point person that is not law enforcement,” City Attorney Mara Elliott said.

“When it comes to crime reporting, SDPD is the first stop and there is a barrier that’s there, I think,” Gloria said. “Some have retreated a bit and what I want is to encourage folks to engage deeper. And if we’re not happy with the way things are going, I want us to force folks to the table.”

San Diego police didn’t provide a statement, but a spokesperson told FOX 5 the department has several liaison officers who meet with marginalized members of the community to form relationships and address concerns.

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