As hate crimes and bias incidents continue rising in New Jersey, three legislators – Senator Troy Singleton, Assemblyman Herb Conaway, and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy – are introducing legislation that would create a Hate Crimes Registry.
The bill would require the Attorney General to establish a Hate Crimes Registry on the official website of the Department of Law and Public Safety. The searchable registry would contain information concerning defendants who have more than one conviction of a hate crime in the state.
In 2020, there were 47 reported bias incidents in Lakewood, a troubling rise from 39 incidents in 2019 and 20 incidents in 2018. Statewide, there were 1,441 total incidents in 2020, with 21% of the total being anti-Semitic.
“With this legislation, we are sending a clear message that hate and intolerance is not welcome in any town in New Jersey,” Senator Singleton said. “By requiring those who have been convicted repeatedly of a hate crime to register in a database, we are giving the public insight into who their neighbors are and giving them the ability to stay informed.”
County Prosecutors would be required to submit information concerning hate crime offenders within 30 days of their conviction including: name and aliases; date and location of disposition; brief description of the offense; general description of the offender’s modus operandi; age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; photograph of the offender; make, model, color, year and license plate for any vehicle the offender operates; and the street address at which the offender resides.
“The State of New Jersey does not stand for bias and hate crimes upon our citizens. We have strict laws that punish people that commit these heinous crimes. After these perpetrators have been adjudicated through our courts, many return to their previous behaviors and actions,” said Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis, who approached Senator Singleton with this legislative proposal. “Unfortunately, there is nothing currently in place that will give someone notice that their new neighbor or co-worker has been convicted of a bias/ hate crime. With the creation of a Hate Crime Registry, these offenders will be required to register in a central database and disclose their home address and pertinent information so the public will be well informed.”