The value of incident reporting

It won’t be news to most of you reading this that according to the FBI, the Jewish community is on the receiving end of about 60% of religious bias crime, and that between 2021 and 2022, Jews experienced a 36% increase in reported crimes. Given recent events, we can expect 2023 numbers to continue that upward trend. One of the greatest challenges within the Jewish community is incident reporting, and I’d like to use this column to stress the importance of sharing the incidents you see and hear about. 
I also want you to know that we are very safe living in Portland. The data shows that the vast majority of us do not have to feel scared in our daily lives. I receive about 3-12 reports per month which fall into the range of potentially offensive to criminal. Most reports I receive are public graffiti, flyers, stickers, and protest activity. Even since October 7th, our incidents of minor property crimes/vandalism have been consistent with pre-war statistics. Media coverage of the growing number of incidents is important to be aware of, but the effect can cause fear where it’s unfounded. Portland college campus activity has been a little more challenging for Jewish students and students and faculty tend to report those issues elsewhere. 
It’s well known that antisemitic and suspicious incidents are underreported. Anecdotally, I’m aware of this because I talk with people all the time and I hear about incidents and when I ask if it was reported, the answer is a variation of these responses: “I didn’t know where to report it,“  “It wasn’t a crime,” “This stuff happens all the time, I don’t let it get to me,” and “It’s free speech, no one can do anything about it.”  I understand too that reporting takes time and effort, and that one isolated incident can feel inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. I’m here to say that it absolutely matters, and I’m asking you to take the time to report the things you hear about and experience. 
A recent example in our Asian community highlights this. In the initial incident, an identified Portland man yelled anti-Asian invectives at two Asian women but did nothing else. The incident was reported but it was determined to not be a crime. A few weeks later, the same man walked up to an Asian man and punched him in the face without saying anything to him. The man was arrested and because the first incident was reported and his anti-Asian animus was already established, the District Attorney’s office was able to classify the incident as a hate crime. Without that previous reporting, they could not have charged that. We never know what is going to be relevant down the road, but with more reporting, we may have a chance to link incidents and identify trends. 
You do not have to figure out for yourself if something is a hate crime – if something feels offensive, antisemitic, suspicious, or criminal, please make sure this is being reported. If you’re unsure about whether something is criminal or see something antisemitic or suspicious, please report it to me. I have an incident reporting form on the JFGP website at You can also contact me at 872-273-9214 and Through your reporting, I can ensure that the statistics I provide back to you in the form of assessments on our community security and security are an accurate reflection of the world we’re living in.  


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