Hate Crimes Modernization Act aims to combat rising hate crimes in New York
In response to what some city officials are calling a disturbing surge in hate crimes across the city and state, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, along with other legislators, unveiled the Hate Crimes Modernization Act.
This proposed bill seeks to address existing loopholes in the state's legal framework by expanding the list of hate crime eligible charges.
"Assault can be charged as a hate crime, but gang assault cannot," said Alvin Bragg, Manhattan district attorney, pointing out inconsistencies that have spurred the call for the new bill.
Surrounded by supporters, Bragg explained that the bill is designed to equip law enforcement with the necessary tools to effectively address and prosecute hate crimes.
He emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, "The current list of eligible offenses, as I outlined, just a few examples, do not comport with our practice, what we're seeing day in and day out in our cases and interactions with survivors. So today, we're here to talk about a bill that will plug those holes and will add 31 new eligible offenses to the hate crime statute," said Bragg.
This legislative effort comes at a time when hate crimes have been on the rise in the city.
According to the NYPD, in Manhattan the number of reported hate crime incidents more than doubled from 21 in October of the previous year to 41 events this October.
These numbers become even more alarming when looking at the broader city-wide statistics. In October 2022, there were 45 reported hate crimes, but this year, that number surged to 101.
Assemblymember Grace Lee emphasized the impact of hate crimes on various vulnerable communities, like Asians have experienced across the boroughs.
"We know that many vulnerable communities across New York are experiencing this, including the Jewish, Muslim, Black, and LGBTQ communities. When we don't address or acknowledge hate, there's a long-term corrosive effect on the community," said Lee.
Legislators are now pinning their hopes on the passage of this bill within the next legislative session.