INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Combating hate in Indianapolis: That’s what the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is doing through its new hate crimes hotline.
“We want to encourage people from the community to be able to report crime,” Prosecutor Ryan Mears said.
Mears says hate crimes often go unreported because people are reluctant to seek help or they won’t know who to turn to for help. “So what we’re trying to do here is create a welcoming environment for people to come forward with that information and let people know that we’re not only concerned about what happened, but we’re also concerned about what can we do to help,” Mears said.
If you’re a victim of a hate crime, all you have to do is call 317-327-5314. The hotline reports to a trained social worker who can help file a formal police report if requested.
“To me, I don’t know who to report to or where to report. With a hotline it will help because you have a designated line,” Sunny Shuai, an Indianapolis resident, said.
Mears explained the crimes that should be reported to the new hotline. “It is really anytime someone decides to commit an action against someone based on a particular characteristic and that’s what motivates their actions or their behavior toward another person,” Mears said.
Sunny Shuai is fearful of anti-Asian hatred. She says she faced discrimination while working in a restaurant in Indianapolis. “I came to this country 20 years ago and I tried really hard to get involved with the society to be part of the society. It’s just a slap on my face to tell me and remind me, ‘Hey, you do not belong here.’ It’s not fun,” Shuai said.
She says this new hotline is a step in the right direction. “For a lot of people, they don’t know English. If you tell them the hotline and they know they don’t have to research where to report, which is huge too because some people barely speak English,” Shuai said.
The service is offered in several languages. It is a non-emergent hotline. All emergencies should be reported to 911. The prosecutor’s office says the hotline will also help improve law enforcement’s response and support for victims of these crimes.