Hate Crimes Bias Incidents (HCBI) Database Analysis and Reporting

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Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations





Organization Overview:

Established under the city’s Home Rule Charter, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) administers and enforces laws prohibiting discrimination and inequality, resolves community conflicts, and promotes understanding and harmony throughout Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods. Work is led by staff in two units - Compliance (law enforcement) and the Community Relations Division (CRD) - and overseen by a nine-member Commission appointed by the Mayor that decides disputed complaints and conducts hearings to educate and inform the public. Overall, the PCHR works to make sure that everyone in Philadelphia has equal rights and opportunities.

Project Name:

Hate Crimes Bias Incidents (HCBI) Database Analysis and Reporting
Project Type: 
Program Evaluation; Performance Management

Project Overview:

The PCHR’s Community Relations Division (CRD) provides a variety of conflict resolution and mediation services to resolve neighborhood disputes and works to engage people of different backgrounds to promote intergroup harmony. Since November 2016, the PCHR has received a dramatic increase in reports of hate crimes and bias incidents (HCBI). The CRD started recording these HCBI incidents in a separate database, first using an Excel database and then moving to a Sharepoint platform. The reports came quickly and we did not have a proper system to categorize and compile the information. We need assistance to properly categorize the HCBI incidents and to analyze and report the findings from the data.  Currently, we have reported the information like this: Since November 2016, PCHR has recorded 329 reports of separate hate incidents. Of this number, 21 are not hate-related; 188 are confirmed; 120 are unconfirmed (meaning, we and the police do not have enough information to confirm). The breakdown by category between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 is as follows: Race/Ethnicity (54); LGBTQ (20); and anti-Semitism (22); Islamophobic acts (8); and anti-immigrant/national origin (6). The breakdown of offenses are: hate speech related incidents (43) (e.g. hate flyers/letters, harassment, ethnic intimidation, and threats); property offenses (34) (mostly graffiti followed by institutional vandalism, and arson; and offenses against another person (33) (including assault, robbery, and murder).  
A successful project would include a "cleaned up," high functioning database that can produce relevant reports for the public and the media.  At the conclusion of the project, students will submit the revised database and any relevant reports. If possible, we want to make the database public (currently, discussing with the City's law department, since many of the cases are collected from police reports), so if the students have time, they can create promotional pieces as well.
Students working on this project, should have a commitment to civil rights and be warned that much of the information is graphic and deeply offensive.

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326