The Anti-Defamation League unveiled a Web site Thursday to aid law enforcement in its battle against hate crimes.
"A good defense to hate crimes is a good offense and that offense is awareness," said David Lehrer, regional director of the group. He called the Web site a one-stop shop for data on hate crime.
The Web site offers information about previous and upcoming events organized by hate groups, criminal activity and current legislation. The data may be searched by state or by date.
Los Angeles County is probably the national leader in prosecuting hate crimes, said Scott Millington, deputy in charge of the district attorney's hate crimes unit.
The district attorney's office filed charges in 158 hate crime cases in 2000. The year before, it filed charges in 174 cases.
Although other organizations, such as the Museum of Tolerance and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, also help the district attorney's office, the Anti-Defamation League plays the leading role, Millington said.
The explosive growth of the Internet, said FBI Special Agent Ronald Iden, has created more challenges to dealing with hate crimes.
The Internet has given them another tool to solicit their message. "Hate groups have used the Internet to influence and recruit youths," he said.
To combat this trend, Web sites such as the ADL's are necessary, officials said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Kathy Voyer urged parents to visit the site, http://www.adl.org/learn, to learn of any suspicious activities.