In mid-November, Brendan Ng, a social worker, discovered a backward swastika spray-painted onto a telephone pole at the intersection of Mercer and Belmont on Capitol Hill.

"I was totally shocked when I first found it," he recently told The Stranger. "I didn't think it would affect me as much as it did. I almost started to hyperventilate."

Although communities of color have a tenuous relationship with police, local nonprofit leaders (and Seattle Police Department officials—surprise!) encourage the public to report hateful vandalism, which is on the rise. In the 10 days after Donald Trump's election, the Southern Poverty Law Center found that 867 hate incidents, which range from hateful graffiti to public intimidation, were reported across the United States. Forty-eight of those incidents happened right here in Washington State.

Despite reports like these, the number of hate incidents is likely much higher because of underreporting. Ng did not report what he saw to the police because of a lack of faith in law enforcement. Instead, he shared his experience through his Facebook network with a reminder to his friends to stay vigilant and safe.

Here's what you should do if you see something: Take photos of what's been written or drawn and be sure to note where the vandalism occurred.

"Unless [the incident] is documented or a police report is produced, it's like it didn't happen," said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Washington (CAIR-WA). "Always report cases, no matter how 'small' it may seem to you at the time. What we find sometimes is those seemingly small things may lead to bigger things."

If the vandalism has already occurred, call the SPD nonemergency line at 625-5011 to make a report. SPD's bias crimes department investigates all incidents of possible hate crimes. Bukhari encourages victims of anti-Muslim attacks to also contact CAIR-WA.

If you see vandalism in progress, find a safe place and call 911 to report the incident, advised Sean Whitcomb, public information officer for the Seattle Police Department.

"It's very important that we have an accurate picture of these types of crimes," Whitcomb said. "We want to make sure people don't live in fear because of who they are."

Washington State mandates that schools have harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies to protect young people who are "especially vulnerable" and provide them with equal educational access, said Doug Honig, communications director for the ACLU of Washington.

"If you see [something] at your school, take a photo of it with your cell phone and show it to a school administrator as something that needs a response from the administration," he said. "Bring it to the attention of your student government and ask that student leaders discuss what they can do to counter such incidents of hate." recommended