LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — According to the FBI, Lafayette is the city with the most reported hate crime incidents in the state.
Mary Finnegan is on the board of Citizens for Civil Rights in Tippecanoe County.
"You cannot realistically eliminate all racism or all homophobia or things like that," said Finnegan.
But you can report it.
"Speaking out against these things has huge impact," said Finnegan.
According to the FBI's newly released 2017 stats, Lafayette reported 8 racially motivated hate crime incidents and one motivated by sexual orientation. Purdue University also reported one hate crime motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry.
"Generally those statistics tend to be under-reported," said Finnegan.
However, Finnegan believes those areas who report more likely have a better relationship with law enforcement.
"I think it's because it's better policing here," said Finnegan.
Whatever the reason, Finnegan hopes these numbers influence a future hate crime law in Indiana.
"I would hope that these type of statistics would prompt them to want to pass this," said Finnegan.
2019 could be the year. Senator Ron Alting has expressed interest in proposing a hate crime bill. He said he will talk to News 18 about his plans soon. Governor Eric Holcomb announced his support for a hate crime bill back in July after anti-Semitic graffiti was found at a Carmel synagogue.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce just released its support as well.
“We are pleased that Governor Holcomb is making this a priority. Having a meaningful bias crimes statute in Indiana is not only the right thing to do, it is also important to helping our employers recruit and retain talented employees. Indiana is a welcoming place and we need to enact every policy possible to convey that message to those outside our state. As we work to attract top talent from all over the U.S. and the world, individuals need to know that their friends and families will be safe from discrimination," said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “The Indiana Chamber will be pushing for as broadly defined a law as possible, yet recognizing that the overriding goal is for a bill to pass and Indiana to take itself off the very short list of states (five) that do not have a bias crimes law on the books.”