THE BRONX - The City Council held a special meeting Thursday to discuss an alarming increase in borough hate crimes.

?One hate crime more this year than last year is too many, but [a] 20.9 percent increase of reports is outrageous and must be responded to,? said City Council speaker Christine Quinn.

Officials said the NYPD needs to take action to combat the growing problem. One suggestion made at the meeting was to beef up the department?s hate crimes unit.

?They need to increase the amount of manpower,? said Councilmember Larry Seabrook. ?They said there are only 19 members in that unit?I think that number needs to be doubled.?