Alarmed by a surge in reported incidents of hate at subway stations and bus stops, the city is creating a Bias Response Team to help victims report harassment and assaults to police, officials announced Tuesday.
The team will be manned by employees of the city’s Commission on Human Rights and intends to reach out to victims whenever they learn of a bias-related incident.
The commission typically receives 30-50 calls a day about such incidents and has seen an uptick in calls since the presidential election, according to the city.
“No one in this city should feel unsafe or threatened for being who they are,” said commission Chairwoman Carmelyn Malalis. “We are using every resource at our disposal to inform people of their rights and encourage them to report acts of bias and discrimination.”
Hate crimes have increased by more than 30 percent this year from 2015, according to the NYPD.
The commission determined that many incidents of hate occur near transit stations. Subsequently, commissioners have decided to distribute information about the protections provided by the city’s human rights law at eight subway stations across all five boroughs.
The commission also said it is launching anti-discrimination ads on transit apps, as well as on Google and Facebook. The ads urge people to report to the commission any incidents of hate on subways, buses or other public places.
The commission is currently investigating more than 400 complains about discrimination on the basis of race, religion and citizenship status, according to city records.
City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez called the surge in hate incidents “unacceptable” and applauded the commission’s initiatives.
“We are demonstrating our true New York values through these efforts, that we are one city, one nation, and we cannot be divided by hate,” he said in a statement.