The Laramie Police Department is set to present an annual report outlining bias crimes committed in Laramie last year during the City Council meeting tomorrow night.

Laramie Police Chief Dale Stalder says the LPD has given the bias crime report every year since 1999. A bias crime is defined as a crime that occurs when a person targets a victim because of his or her membership in a certain social group or race.

Stalder said the PD keeps tabs on the number of bias crimes in the city in order to notice trends. Stalder says if the PD notices a trend in bias-motivated crimes, they can do outreach to try to resolve the roots of the issue.

“If we noticed a trend- for example more bias crimes related to religion, we would attempt to do outreach maybe with that religious group to try to find out why there’s bias crimes occurring, we would make the community aware of what those trends would be,” Stalder said.

Stalder said one particular example in the past was after 9/11. Stalder said there was an uptick in bias towards people of Muslim faith. In that situation Stalder said they PD did outreach with the Muslim communities in Laramie to try to address the bias.

The bias crime report also addresses possible issues with bias crime reporting and making sure there is nothing hindering bias crime reporting. According to the report, Laramie does not have issues with under-reporting of bias crimes.

“You’ll read about hesitancy in certain kinds of demographics to report crimes to the police because they don’t feel they’ll be addressed properly, either as a bias related crime or as a crime altogether. I don’t believe that takes place in Laramie,” Stalder said.  “Our community is fairly open and people have a reasonable trust in the police department to come forward with these types of things. There really is no indication that we have under-reporting of bias-related crime.”

The bias crime report states that there were two bias crimes in Laramie, both involved graffiti and no suspects were identified. Stalder said two isn’t an unusual number of bias crimes reported.

“On any given year there’s sometime zero, sometimes one, sometimes two,” Stalder said. “So the two we have is not unusual and it’s also on average probably at one or two more that we have on a yearly basis.”

To create the bias crime report, the LPD uses standards mandated by the Uniformed Crime Reporting section of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All LPD employees undergo training annually and members of the LARC Division, Records Unit are trained in Uniformed Crime Reporting.

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