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Increase in hate crime in 30 US cities as overall crime rates declines

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For the fifth consecutive year, the US has experienced an increase in hate crime, and this trend continues in 2019, as ‘white supremacist’ homicides also increased. 

According to the Guardian, a new report shows that 2018 saw a national rise in hate crimes in the US, and that almost all extremist homicides were carried out by the far right.

Hate crimes rose 9% to a decade high of 2,009 in 30 US cities surveyed for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE), headquartered at California State University at Santa Barbara, which published the report on Tuesday.

The rise is the fifth consecutive increase and the steepest rise since 2015, and the trend has continued to rise so far in 2019, the report said. The rise happened even as overall crime rates continued to decline across those cities surveyed.

The reports outlines the most frequently targeted groups nationally were black people, Jews and LGBTQ people. The report shows that there was a particularly large increase in antisemitic incidents in cities like New York, and records 2018 as the “worst year ever for antisemitic killings in the United States”.

The report also stated that the total number of extremist homicides decreased sharply from 36 in 2017 to 22, but that “white supremacist” homicides increased to 17, and along with two murders associated with “extreme misogyny” made up the vast majority of extremist murders.

On 27th October 2018, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, Robert Bowers allegedly killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the worst antisemitic massacre in US history. 

Large groups of people march (See picture below) towards the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, days after 11 people were killed in the mass shooting. 

The increase in homicides around the mid-term election in the US was in keeping with longterm trends that the report points to regarding an increase in hate crimes around major political events. Simular trends occur in the UK and this was certainly the case during the EU Referendum in 2016 and more recent debates around Brexit. 

The Guardian highlight that the US report warns that “the risk of extremist violence by (white nationalists) will likely continue into this current nascent political season”, and that they will “maintain their position at the top of the threat matrix”.

Despite recent moves from Republicans to define anti-neo-Nazi groups known as “Antifa” as a terrorist organization, the report suggests that the far right has presented a much more serious threat of deadly extremist violence.

The report points to “politically motivated assaults and suspected crimes–and non-violent protests” from “Antifa, anarchists, and hard left extremists”, and details 19 incidents of “Antifa harassment and violence” throughout 2018 and 2019.

CSHE director Brian Levin said in a telephone conversation that there is “a sliver of violent Antifa” but “we’re not seeing the hard left yet going in and doing mass political violence”.

He said that he and CSHE colleagues are “concerned about increasing political violence”, but “we have to be very careful about who we label terrorists”.

The report records that 26 transgender people were murdered in 2018. But the biggest percentage increase in reported hate crimes was against whites, from a relatively low base.

Despite recent allegations of a wave of “fake hate crimes” in rightwing media, the CSHE could only find 11 false hate crime reports in 2018.

The US, like many other counties are experiencing increased numbers of hate crimes and related incidents. 

The UK has seen a year-on-year increase in hate crime and according to official Home Office statistics, the West Midlands region is listed has having the forth highest number of hate crimes in England, behind London Met, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. 

Warwickshire based charity, the Equality and Inclusion Partnership (EQuIP) support victims of hate crime and they strongly encourage any person that experiences or witnesses hate related crime to always report. 

There are various ways to report depending on how much information people wish to give. You can ring the Police by calling 101 in a non-emergency situation, but always call 999 in an emergency. 

In Warwickshire, some people do not wish to contact the police directly, so they can report hate crimes/incidents to EQuIP, who will protect a persons identity and not pass on any details of the report without prior consent.

Reports to EQuIP can be made online via the www.reporthatenow.com website, you can send an email: advice@equipequality.org.uk, or for those that prefer to speak to someone in person, you can contact telephone EQuIP on 01788 863117 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

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Don't be afraid, speak up - silence hides hate

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