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Antisemitism in Arizona: State to start tracking crimes against the Jewish community

Legislation has been signed that requires crimes to be reported to a statewide database if they involve elements of antisemitism.

PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.

Crimes motivated by antisemitism must be reported to the Arizona Department of Public Safety's central database after lawmakers have successfully codified the mandate into law. 

DPS is tasked with managing a repository that tracks how many and what types of crimes or occurring throughout the state.

House Bill 2675 requires DPS to now "collect information concerning criminal offenses that manifest evidence of prejudice based on antisemitism." 

Arizona's criminal justice agencies are also obligated to provide DPS information on crimes involving antisemitism. 

The legislation was signed into law this week by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Over the last few years, the Valley has seen many troubling acts of hate that have targeted the Jewish community. 

Homes in Phoenix have been marked with swastikas, Hanukkah decorations have been defaced and vandalized in Chandler, and antisemitic flyers have been found on the ASU campus. 

In 2020, annual reports of alleged hate crimes rose from 209 to 282 across Arizona. The state has not seen figures this high since 2001 when Arizona reported up to 386 instances of hate, according to FBI data.

HB 2675 chooses to use the same definition of antisemitism that's been previously adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.  

The alliance has defined antisemitism as "a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

DPS is already legally obligated to collect info on crimes involving prejudices against race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, or gender. But the new legislation adds antisemitic-related crimes to the state's list. 

RELATED: As hate crimes keep rising in Arizona, FBI launches reporting campaign

RELATED: Phoenix home vandalized with swastikas -- again

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