ProPublica: Hate crimes data

Ken Schwencke filed this request with the Worcester Police Department of Worcester, MA .


From: Ken Schwencke

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, ยง10, I hereby request the following records:

Any database or other records of hate crimes or crimes evidencing bias of race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability reported to or investigated by your agency since Jan. 1, 2010, containing at least the following fields:

the incident number
date of the incident
whether the crime was against individuals or a business / property
number of victims
race or ethnicity of the victims
gender of the victims
the offense classification
the location of the incident
the bias motivation (anti-black, anti-muslim, etc)

I would like the records in a machine-readable, electronic format if possible. If the records are kept in another format, or kept individually, I would still like copies.

This request is made as part of the Documenting Hate Project, a collaboration involving dozens of news organizations, led by ProPublica. Coverage from the project is compiled at

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.


Ken Schwencke

From: Hanlon, Michael J.

The Worcester Police Department has received your records request regarding hate crime statistics and I have passed the request along to our Crime Analysis Unit. Once I receive a response from them, I will let you know which if any of the requested information and documents are in our possession


Lieutenant Michael Hanlon

From: Ken Schwencke

Thanks so much. Look forward to it.

Ken Schwencke
w: 917-512-0253
c: 561-756-6135

From: Hanlon, Michael J.

Mr. Schwencke,

I have attached the Bias Offenses (2010 - Present) per your recent public records request.

After speaking with Crime Analysis, I was informed that there is currently no document in existence or program in place that is capable of distinguishing the race/gender of victims in these cases. The only way to do this would be to manually read through each incident and create a new document, as offense data is associated with incidents and not victims. So for example, when an incident is motivated by bias and there are multiple victims and offenses, it is not possible to pair each offense with a specific victim without reading the text narrative. Also please note that in many of these incidents the victim is a Worcester Police Officer who was the victim of bias within the context of responding to an incident in his/her day-to-day work. Additionally, records might appear more than once in the spreadsheet when a single incident involves multiple criminal offenses.


Lieutenant Michael Hanlon

From: Ken Schwencke

Hi Michael,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Ken Schwencke