NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced a new panel Monday to help fight hate crimes in the city.
It’s part of the NYPD’s ongoing efforts to get justice for victims, especially after the recent rise in anti-Asian attacks and incidents.
Shea said the panel will “act as a bridge, another pair of eyes for the NYPD as we look stamp out hate.”
The panel is made up of five community leaders from communities that have been targeted the most; they will help with investigations, including sending recommendations letters to the district attorneys.
Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said the panel will also add clarity when identifying a hate crime.
“This panel will certainly add deeper insight into these crimes. They may help us see things we may not have seen and ultimately ensure justice for victims — which is what we all want” Harrison said.
The panel will be made up of New Yorkers with personal experience with how hate crimes affect individuals, families and communities.
Devorah Halberstam lost her son in 1994 after a gunman opened fire on a school killing 14 students on a bus. Police say the motive was hate.
“We will be the voices of the victims who are often ignored and only tolerated,” she said of the panel she’s set to join.
This year alone there have been 135 hate crimes in New York, according to police, compared to 93 this time last year.
In 2021, 66 of these incidents have been against Asian New Yorkers, compared to 12 in 2020.
And experts have said many hate crimes go unreported.
For panelist Fred Teng, being a part of the panel is an honor.
The group will meet with NYPD executives in person once a month, and virtually every two weeks. Panel members, though, are volunteers and their opinion will not have any legal bearing on the criminal cases — but will be a part of the public record.