Crime, Fire + Courts

Police website keeps UCD informed about hate crimes, incidents

By From page A1 | January 31, 2012

UC Davis police are investigating a pair of hate incidents that occurred on campus over the past four days.

One involved a note referencing the Ku Klux Klan that was taped onto a dorm-room door in Potter Hall. The other, a life-sized Barbie doll found hanging by a noose at the Women’s Resources and Research Center.

No suspects have been identified in either incident. But as the probes continue, the campus community can stay informed about their progress through a new feature on the UCD Police Department website.

“Hate Free Zone” offers summaries of hate crimes and hate incidents that have been reported on the UCD campus, as well as an explanation of what distinguishes an incident from a crime. The online reports are updated as new information becomes available.

An act of hate or bigotry is given hate-crime status if it involves a criminal or attempted criminal act. Otherwise, it’s classified as a hate incident.

Matt Carmichael, UCD’s interim police chief, said the “Hate Free Zone” idea arose from discussions he had with students before the winter break.

“There was a belief that if something was not classified as a hate crime, then the police weren’t doing anything,” Carmichael said. While there is a difference between hate incidents and hate crimes, “we truly do investigate each just as seriously.”

In both instances, officers document the scene with photos, gather evidence and interview witnesses in an attempt to find the person or people responsible, Carmichael said.

Students also said they wanted to hear more about the follow-up investigations, and “my goal was to provide that,” Carmichael said.

Now, two hate incidents in a four-day period are giving the new website feature a test run.

The first occurred shortly after noon Friday, when a resident adviser at Potter Hall found the following note duct-taped to a dorm-room door: “KKK F— off were (sic) full.”

“It is unclear why this room was targeted. Officers attempted to make contact with the occupants of the room; however there was no answer at the door,” investigating officers wrote in the online summary. “Officers removed the note and retained and booked the note into evidence. Over the weekend several attempts were made to make contact with the occupants of the room with negative results.”

The investigation is continuing, Carmichael said.

So is the probe into a second incident that occurred Monday morning at the Women’s Resources and Research Center, where interns found a life-size Barbie doll belonging to the center hanging by a noose from a water pipe in the basement of North Hall.

“This act comes at a time in which the Student Life Centers have been under attack and is a reminder of the acts of hate perpetrated on this campus,” WRRC staff wrote in an email to the campus community. “The Women’s Resources & Research Center continues to provide valuable resources to the campus community and opposes such manifestations of sexism, hatred, violence against women, and gendered violence.”

Anyone with information about either incident is urged to call UCD police at (530) 752-1727.

To read the incident summaries and get updates on the investigations, visit police.ucdavis.edu and click on the “Hate Free Zone” logo on the left-hand side of the homepage.

“It’s a work in progress,” Carmichael said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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