The Newton Police Department (NPD) has recorded over 50 bias-related incidents since the start of 2022.
Newton Police Chief John Carmichael addressed that number, as well as statistics on domestic violence calls, Thursday at a quarterly discussion between NPD and the Public Safety & Transportation Committee.
The next discussion will take place in either November or December, though a date has not yet been set.
So far this year, antisemetic and anti-Black bias-related incidents have accounted for more than half of the 53 total incidents.
Unlike hate crimes, bias and hate–related incidents are not accompanied with a standalone criminal action such as assault or destruction of property. Still, they have the potential to evolve if not kept in check, according to Carmichael.
“With all of the situations and incidents and things that we’re seeing that are happening around the country that are just atrocious and violent, I think it’s important for us to pay attention to this as much as we can and investigate and try and mitigate these things as they happen,” he said.
Alicia Bowman, Ward 6 councilor-at-large, commented that these incidents do not need to evolve into crimes before they do harm.
“It doesn’t have to be a crime for it to be hurtful—to make people feel excluded in our community [or feel] discriminated [against],” Bowman said. “I certainly think the police department and the schools and the city are taking this seriously enough to respond to it.”
The Newton Police department (NPD) also keeps track of calls concerning domestic incidents.
The number of calls regarding domestic incidents has been consistent over the past few years. But in 2022, more calls have been preventative in nature than they have been in the past, rather than involving violent crime ending in arrests or summons, which Carmichael says is a promising trend.
“Many times we’re going to these calls, [we] are in a peacekeeping role where [we] are trying to de-escalate, separate, and try to bring the temperature of the call down,” he said.