By PETER RUGG
Earlier this month, Kansas City jurors twice declined to punish people with a death sentence for a racially motivated crime. The most recent case being when a judge sentenced 22-year-old Steve Sandstrom to life in prison for the 2005 murder of William McCay.
The cases could be a sign of a trend: A newly released report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs pegged Kansas City with a near-doubling of hate crimes from 2006 to 2007.
According to the report, the number of incidents increased from 27 in 2006 to 47 last year. The number of victims more than doubled, from 12 to 29. The number of offenders increased from 23 to 37.
The Coalition – an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people – goes on in its report to note that the increases are hopefully due to a new information intake form that their people began using at the beginning of 2007. These numbers were collected from the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, which covers the Missouri and Kansas sides. They also show a decrease in HIV and anti-transgendered bias over the year. We’ll have to wait for the 2008 numbers to see if they’re right about that new form, or if we’re really just a hateful city.