AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler met with several groups Thursday to talk about how to prevent hate crimes in Central Texas.

The mayor, the Austin Police Department and the Lesbian and Gay Peace Officers Association hosted a forum.

Mayor Adler says it’s important to recognize everything the community is doing to stop hate crimes, and look at ways to keep improving.

“Crimes themselves are horrible enough, but it becomes horrific when somebody is engaging in a crime with the intent to scare a community or a group of people,” the mayor said.

Those in the crowd heard from the parents of Matthew Shepard.

Shepard was brutally attacked and tied to a fence outside Laramie, Wyoming back in 1998. He later died at a hospital.

His death has become one of the most well-known anti-gay hate crimes in American history.