DENVER (CBS4) – The FBI released its annual Hate Crime Statistics Act report on Tuesday, finding hate crimes decreased slightly nationwide from 2017 to 2018. During that same time, Colorado reported a 16 percent increase in the number of reported hate crimes.
In Colorado, there were 123 reported hate crimes in 2018 compared to 106 reported incidents in 2017. Last year in Colorado, the FBI documented 78 crimes based on race/ethnicity/national origin, 24 based on sexual orientation, 16 based on religion, three based on gender-identity and two based on disability.
Across the country, and in Colorado, Jews and Jewish institutions continue to experience the greatest number of religion-based hate crime attacks. Earlier this month, the FBI thwarted a white supremacist’s plot to attack Temple Emanuel, a Pueblo synagogue.
The arrest came one year after 11 people were killed in a hate crime at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Pittsburgh area.
A group called the Colorado Coalition Against Hate responded to the report, saying more must be done to address hate crimes in Colorado.
“It is clear that anti-Semitism is not a thing of the past. ADL will continue to do all it can to defend Jews and all victims of hate and bigotry,” said Scott Levin, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region.
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.
“The 2018 Hate Crime Report is a stark reminder that Colorado is not immune to hate or to hateful rhetoric,” said Dilpreet Jammu, Executive Director of Colorado Sikhs. “The numbers are understated. There are individuals, and groups, in our state that are doing needless harm to so many and wasting precious time and resources.”
After three consecutive years of increases, the FBI found that total hate crimes decreased across the country from 7,120 in 2018 to 7,175 in 2017. Race-based hate crimes were once again the most common type of hate crime, with nearly 50 percent directed against African-Americans.
“The trends of these cowardly acts nationwide are traditional with prior years, consistent with those we see in Aurora, and sadly indicative of the times,” said Barbara Grove Jones, President of the NAACP Aurora Colorado Branch. “We continue to fight against this scourge through enforcement, training, victim support and improved reporting with our partners in the Coalition and law enforcement.”
Hate crimes directed at LGBTQ individuals increased by almost six percent nationwide, including a 42 percent increase in crimes directed against transgender individuals. Anti-Hispanic hate crimes increased 14 percent, for the third straight year. While religion-based hate crimes decreased by eight percent from 2017, nearly 60 percent of hate crime attacks were targeted against Jews and Jewish institutions in 2018.