TIPPECANO CO. Ind. (WLFI)- A recent study by California State of San Bernardino found Hate Crimes in the largest U.S. Cities Rose by 9%. That is the Highest Level in over a Decade
On July 1st Indiana's Biased Crime Bill took effect. Before the Biased crime bill was passed earlier this year, the state of Indiana didn't have a law in place holding people accountable for hate crimes.
"Hopefully it will give victims of these crimes some sort of feeling or empowerment to report,” said Chief John Cox with Purdue Police.
The Purdue Police department has actually seen a decrease in hate or racially motivated crimes despite a recent the study by California State University, in San Bernardino.
"The Hoosier state is friendly,” said state Senator Ron Alting. “This bill says if you intentionally go out and commit a physical act against an individual based upon hate, you will be prosecuted and give that judge the ability to enhance you penalty."
That's the point of the bill, it will require judges to recognize a crime may have been biased in nature. Before, judges did not have to take this in to consideration when sentencing an offender.
"It helps anytime the legislatures give prosecutors a law that says the courts shall hear this evidence,” says Tippecanoe County prosecutor Pat Harrington.
While this new law took effect on July 1st, Harrington says he feels judges in Tippecanoe County have already been practicing this when sentencing criminals.
"They were doing this before,” added Harrington. “They always said that in their sentencing orders so I think they will continue to use these factors in weighing what the appropriate sentence is."
The bill protects a long list of minorities. However the original author feels it doesn't go far enough.
"This is 2019 not 1964,” stated Alting. Equal rights should be for all not for just a handful or selected group."
Senator Ron Alting says he would like to see police officers, veterans and those over a certain age be protected by the bill as well.
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