New online hub helps police departments monitor, prosecute hate crimes in Westchester
A new centralized online hub is helping authorities monitor and prosecute hate crimes in Westchester County.
The new portal took a year to develop and comes as the number of hate crimes reported is on the rise.
The new portal isn't public, but it's a tool that is putting Westchester's police departments all on the same page with hate incidents and crimes happening throughout the county.
The Westchester District Attorney's Office helped spearhead the portal, which will also help identify where public outreach and education to prevent hate is needed.
So far, 80% of local and state law enforcement agencies are registered for the portal, including the Village of Ossining Police Department.
Ossining Police Department Chief Kevin Sylvester says the portal will help departments share information on hate crimes, which could be helpful in cases like the one involving Robert McCallion. In 2021, he was convicted of a violent racist attack in Ossining against a 17-year-old girl, who was targeted because she was Black.
"You know, we don't know if those things are happening in other places or what contacts that person had, so this is an opportunity for us to share that information," he says.
The overall goal is to create more comprehensive and proactive investigations, with the hopes of swift justice when hate crimes occur.
If the portal is proven successful and useful, it could be expanded to monitor other types of crimes.