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ADL: Hate Crimes in Colorado Nearly Doubled from 2017 to 2018

Data released by the Colorado Department of Public Safety shows reports reached a 6-year high

DENVER, CO (August 8, 2019) – A report released yesterday on Colorado crime statistics shows reported hate crimes in the state reached a six-year high and nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018. The state reported 185 cases of hate crimes in 2018 compared to 96 cases in 2017, according to the data from the Colorado Department of Public Safety.

The majority of reported hate crimes, 112 cases, were race, ethnicity, or ancestry-based bias. There were 32 victims of sexual orientation and gender identity bias and 26 victims of religion-based bias. The most common hate crime offense was intimidation, followed by assault and vandalism, according to the annual crime statistics report.

A diverse group of community partners called The Mountain States Against Hate Coalition (full list below) today said more must be done to address the alarming trend of increased hate crimes and incidents in Colorado and across the nation. The coalition was formed in 2017 to counter hate crimes in Colorado by educating the public about hate crimes and partnering with law enforcement to improve incident response and reporting.

Coalition partner statements:

Scott Levin, Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region:

“The significant increase in reported hate crimes is alarming and highlights the increased vitriol, harassment and targeted violence that marginalized populations across our state have experienced for the past several years. We are deeply concerned that Jewish institutions and individuals continue to be the targets of the majority of religion-based hate crimes. Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and all people of faith should be able to worship without fear of violence and intimidation.” 

Jason Marsden, Executive Director, Matthew Shepard Foundation:

“High quality data greatly increases our ability to prevent bias-motivated crime, so we congratulate the reporting agencies for not only switching to a more accurate collection system, but also for publicizing the alarming number of these vile offenses. As we continue to focus our efforts on providing in-depth hate crime training to law enforcement agencies nationwide, we hope this local increase in reported cases reflects stronger and more trusting relationships between targeted communities and those who police them. There is still more work to be done, but we applaud law enforcement agencies in Colorado and their commitment to devote significant time and attention to hate crimes enforcement and reporting.”

Ismail Akbulut, President, Multicultural Mosaic Foundation:

“The increase in hate crimes is very concerning and alarming. These hate crimes, which are assaults on the sanctity of human life, shatter our hearts, but should strengthen our eagerness in serving the goal of living in peace together with all. Further, there is a need for a greater effort to remedy the illnesses of racism, hatred and bigotry.” 

Rex Fuller, Vice President of Communication, The Center on Colfax:

“While we continue to be concerned about hate crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, we are alarmed to see an overall rise in hate crimes in our state. We denounce this violence and stand with all communities who are victims of bias-motivated crimes.”

Rev. Amanda Henderson, Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado:

“Today’s report should be a wake-up call. As people from multiple faith traditions, we call on our leaders at every level to condemn hate crimes and the hate speech that fuels these crimes. We must actively work to heal our divisions and promote our shared values of inclusion, equity, and kindness.” 

Rachel Nielsen, Director, Colorado Resilience Collaborative:

“These concerning numbers and events in our community highlight the importance of the efforts of the Mountain States Against Hate Coalition and the Colorado Resilience Collaborative. Namely, we want community members to know that there are resources available to them. We hope that the conversations about identity-based violence lead to increased partnerships and a larger focus on this problem.”

In addition to encouraging community leaders to speak out forcefully against hate incidents and crimes, coalition partners urge all Colorado law enforcement agencies to report incidents in their jurisdictions. Coalition partners call on state and federal officials to redouble efforts to track and disrupt escalating community tensions, including more comprehensive hate crime laws and better training of police. Finally, the coalition encourages Colorado’s congressional delegation and U.S. senators to support pending federal legislation called the NO HATE Act (H.R. 3545 and S.2043). The legislation would improve hate violence response by:  establishing incentive grants to promote best hate crime response practices and help integrate police departments into the most comprehensive FBI data collection system; providing funding to help set up state hate crime hotlines networked with state victim service providers; and establishing alternative sentences or community service for some federal hate crime offenders.

The Mountain States Against Hate Coalition includes the following organizations:

American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU-CO)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region (ADL)
Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC)
The Center on Colfax
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC)
Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO)
Colorado Resilience Collaborative
Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Meet the Middle East
Multicultural Mosaic Foundation
NAACP – Aurora Branch
NAACP CO-MT-Wyoming State Conference
One Colorado
Out Boulder County

Law Enforcement Partners:

Denver Police Department
Denver District Attorney’s Office
FBI – Denver Field Office

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