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ADL Calls for Action After New FBI Data Shows Rise in Hate Crimes Nationwide

Denver, CO, November 13, 2017 …The Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region expressed concern that, for the second year in a row, the FBI’s annual hate crimes report documents an increase in hate crimes nationwide. Regionally, while the number of reported incidents in Colorado remained flat, both New Mexico and Wyoming experienced increases.

The FBI’s 2016 Hate Crime Statistics Act report found that there were 6,121 reported hate crimes in the United States compared to the 5,850 reported in 2015. In addition, there were 104 reported hate crimes in Colorado in 2016 compared to 107 in 2015. New Mexico experienced a steep increase in reported hate crimes with 26 in 2016 compared to 13 in 2015. There were 3 hate crimes reported in Wyoming in 2016 compared to 2 in 2015, according to the FBI’s data.

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

We are deeply troubled that the number of reported hate crimes in our region has increased or remained at elevated levels. The FBI’s report affirms what we knew, anecdotally, to be true:  Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ individuals and racial minorities have been disproportionality targeted with hate incidents and hate crimes.

Hate crimes weaken the bonds of our society, divide our communities and seek to intimidate and isolate a victim’s whole community. We call upon our elected officials, community leaders, law enforcement agencies and all people of goodwill to send a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

The FBI report highlights continued concerns about underreporting of hate crimes locally and nationwide, as well as the need for credible data. For instance, only 37 out of 244 reporting law enforcement agencies in Colorado submitted a hate crime report. The remaining agencies reported zero incidents or failed to report at all. This included five cities in Colorado with a population more than 100,000 that reported zero incidents – Arvada, Lakewood, Greeley, Thornton and Westminster. In New Mexico, the Las Cruces Police Department did not report at all.

“We are working with local law enforcement agencies and community partners to ensure that credible data is being reported,” Levin said. “When a law enforcement agency reports zero hate crimes, we want to make sure that report is truly reflective of what is happening in a community.”

To increase understanding of these important trends, ADL announced a first-of-its-kind, interactive hate crime map that displays FBI hate crime data from 2004-2016 for cities with more than 100,000 residents. It gives users the ability to navigate hate crimes data and laws at the national, statewide and city level, and breaks out information on crimes against a broad spectrum of targeted populations. The comprehensive map shows which large cities may have underreported hate crimes in their city – or not reported at all. And it contains an interactive chart of hate crime laws in America, sharing which groups are included in state hate crime laws, as well as which states are missing laws protecting specific populations.

“There’s a dangerous disconnect between the rising problem of hate crimes and the lack of credible data being reported,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “Police departments that do not report credible data to the FBI risk sending the message that this is not a priority issue for them, which may threaten community trust in their ability and readiness to address hate violence. We will need an all-hands-on-deck approach – including community organizations, law enforcement organizations, civic leaders, and the active involvement of Justice Department and FBI officials – to address hate crime underreporting.”

In September, ADL and a coalition of more than 80 national civil rights, religious, education, and professional organizations promoted a broad series of hate crime prevention programs and initiatives. ADL also plans to fully engage partners at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. A central element of the joint 10-point Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry, announced after the events in Charlottesville, was a commitment to improve hate crime data reporting.

Locally, the ADL Mountain States Region helped establish the Mountain States Against Hate Coalition, which includes 15 community partners in Colorado who are dedicated to countering hate crimes in the state.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.  Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

ADL’s Mountain States Region covers Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Follow us on Twitter: @ADLDenver

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