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King County begins work on 'Stop Hate Hotline'

The King County Council has approved a plan to create a new hate crime hotline and web portal that people can use to report incidents.

County Councilmember Reagan Dunn says the Stop Hate Hotline is needed following the surge in hate crimes seen throughout the course of the pandemic.

“If we are to more fully respond to the unprecedented surge in hate crimes we’ve seen in King County, we need to provide more pathways for victims of these dehumanizing crimes to report them,” Dunn said in a statement. "Without boosting reporting rates, we only allow crimes of hate and bias to proliferate — and no one in King County should live in threat of retaliation or even danger due to their race, religion, beliefs, appearance, or any other differences that exist among us.”

The County's Coalition Against Hate and Bias says it has received 560 reports of hate crimes since it was formed in mid-2020, and those were just the incidents that were reported.

In February 2021, reported hate crimes with the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office peaked at 157%, considerably higher than the pre-Covid average.

A workgroup will convene in November to develop a plan for the reporting system, as well as awareness. That plan will be presented to the County Council in May 2023.