Bias Motivated Incidents, 2000-2004

By 2000-2004, the number of bias motivated incidents reported in Northwest Indiana increased dramatically from previous years. From 2000-2004, 105 bias incidents occurred, and the most common types of incidents were harassment (32), swastika graffiti (20), and graffiti (15), reflecting the same trend as 1995-1999. The number of murders increased by two during this period, but the number of cross burnings decreased past the lowest number in any period previously. In one harassment incident that took place at a Valparaiso bar, a white man called a black student a racial slur which led to an argument. The police came and arrested the white man. In another harassment incident, which took place in Valparaiso in 2003, a Puerto Rican student at Valparaiso High School was repeatedly harassed by classmates. The student left the school because of the repeated harassment and sued the school. In a graffiti incident in 2003, racist graffiti was discovered on the Borman Expressway overpass in Hammond. There were also 5 incidents of Ku Klux Klan activity, more than in any other five-year span. As shown in Map 3, KKK activity primarily occurred in southern Lake County (near Cedar Lake) and Porter County. In one incident of KKK activity in Cedar Lake, a black woman found three KKK fliers. The woman also reported that people shouted racial slurs at her and her family when they moved into the area. In another KKK incident that occurred in Crown Point, an entire neighborhood received KKK fliers hidden in their newspapers.

The numbers of incidents occurring in Lake and Porter County were almost even during this period, with 43 incidents (41.0%) in Lake County and 38 incidents (36.2%) in Porter County. There were 19 incidents (18.1%) in LaPorte County. The number of incidents that occurred in the Valparaiso area also increased during this period.