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ADL Expresses Concern Over Increase in Hate Crimes in Colorado and Nation

Denver, CO, November 15, 2016… The Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region is concerned by the increase in hate crimes reported yesterday in the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report. According to the report, there were 5,850 documented hate crimes in the United States in 2015 – a seven percent increase nationally over the 2014 report and an average of 16 hate crimes every day.

Colorado experienced a nearly 13 percent increase in 2015 with 107 reported incidents in 2015 compared to 95 in 2014. The number of hate crimes based on race, religion and sexual orientation all increased in Colorado, according to the report. Wyoming, which had no reported incidents in 2014, had two reported incidents in 2015.

ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott L. Levin released the following statement:

We are troubled that the FBI’s annual hate crimes report reveals an increase in the number of reported hate incidents nationally, including in Colorado and Wyoming. We are particularly concerned that the report shows an increase in the number of race-based crimes, crimes directed against Jews, against the LGBT community and a significant increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes. In fact, the number of hate crimes based on religion increased 23 percent in 2015. Fifty-three percent of the reported religion-based crimes were directed against Jews and Jewish institutions. Reported crimes against Muslims increased 67 percent from 154 incidents in 2014 to 257 in 2015.

While it is important not to assume a direct connection between the reported hate crimes in 2015 and the election, the inflammatory and divisive presidential campaign helped create an atmosphere where incivility and bigotry have often gone unchecked. It is critical that all people of good will push back against those who feel emboldened by the results of our presidential election to spread hate.

We call on law enforcement and community leaders to invigorate efforts to respond to and prevent hate crimes in Colorado and to pass hate crime legislation in Wyoming.

Another disappointing finding in the FBI’s 2015 report is that 500 fewer law enforcement agencies participated in the FBI’s data collection effort over the previous year.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, added:

“Despite the extraordinary outreach and enforcement work by the Justice Department, it is disturbing that at least 85 police agencies in cities over 100,000 in population did not participate in this report – or affirmatively reported that they had zero hate crimes. Data drives policy – and the FBI’s annual report is the most important national snapshot of the hate crime problem in America.

“Though clearly incomplete, the report provides essential information about the nature and magnitude of the problem,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “Police participation in the report is a measure of accountability and how well prepared they are to address hate crimes when they occur. We can and should do much better. Working with our coalition and other civil rights, education, and interfaith partners, we will make increased hate crime reporting, participation, and training a significant priority.”

For the first time, the 2015 FBI HCSA report includes separate reporting for crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs, Hindus and others. ADL and a broad coalition had urged that these groups be included, since they have historically been targeted because of their religious practices, appearance, and apparel.

Last year, ADL announced the formation of a new campaign to improve legal response to hate crimes across the United States. 50 States Against Hate: An Initiative for Stronger Hate Crime Laws is working toward the passage of hate crime laws in the five states which do not have them, while simultaneously seeking to improve hate crime reporting and make existing hate crime laws in the other 45 states more inclusive and comprehensive.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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