St. Louis suburb victimized by cemetery vandalism mulling hate crimes registry

(JTA) — The city council of a St. Louis suburb that had its Jewish cemetery vandalized is considering a resolution that would create a hate crimes registry.

The resolution was introduced Monday in the University City Council by Councilman Rod Jennings.

Jennings told the local media that he had been considering introducing such legislation since November, long before the attack on the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in which 154 headstones were knocked over or damaged.

The resolution would create a hate crimes database similar to a sex offenders registry. Anyone convicted of a hate crime who moves into or out of University City would be in the database, which would accessible to the public.

“I think it is important that we know they are living close to our schools and our children, close to our resident and our homes, close to every mosque, synagogue and church,” Jennings told the St Louis Post-Dispatch. “We would want to know if someone who was a proven hate crime offender is in our community, and we would want our neighboring community to know they are leaving or community and moving into theirs.”

The council will vote on the measure at its regular meeting in two weeks on March 13.

Police still have not identified any suspects in the cemetery case, nor have they decided to label the attack as a hate crime.

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