City leaders held a public forum Thursday on the dramatic rise in hate crimes in the city.

The meeting focused on the killing of Timothy Caughman, who was stabbed to death in a race-fueled murder Monday night.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is handling the case.

He says there's enough evidence to suggest this was a hate crime.

"What you're looking for essentially is factual proof that the crime was motivated by bias, as opposed to just bias being expressed incidental in the commission of the crime," Vance said.

"I do fear for myself, and I also fear for my family," said one attendee. "My family is Muslim, as I am. I'm transgender. I've experienced hatred as a transgender person, as an African-American person, as a Muslim."

Statistics from the NYPD show hate crimes rose nearly 55 percent so far this year.

Vance also announced his office is launching a campaign to encourage people to report hate crimes.