World

US hate crimes up; New York posts highest jump

NEW YORK: Hate crimes in nine US metropolitan areas rose more than 20 per cent last year, fuelled by inflamed passions during the presidential campaign and more willingness from victims to step forward, a leading hate-crime researcher said on Monday.

Bias crimes appeared to increase in some cities following the Nov 8 election of President Donald Trump, a trend that has extended into this year with a wave of bomb threats and desecrations at synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, according to California researcher Brian Levin.

Levin collected data as director of the nonpartisan Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, where he is a professor of criminal justice. The new numbers, collected from police departments, reverse a trend toward fewer hate crimes in many of the cities in recent years.

Among US cities, New York reported the greatest number of hate crimes at 380, a 24 per cent increase from 2015.

Such a great country that allows you to be here. White House press secretary Sean Spicer to former school teacher Shree Chauhan, 33, an American born in New York, who fired loaded questions at him at an Apple store in Washington, and put the video online.

Overall, there were 1,037 incidents, a 23.3 per cent increase from the previous year in the nine areas researched: New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Montgomery County in Maryland, Columbus in Ohio, Seattle, Long Beach in California and Cincinnati.

By highlighting issues such as race, religion and national origin, the presidential election campaign could have influenced both the number of incidents and frequency of reporting them to police, Levin said.

"That, coupled with significant coverage, might have encouraged two things to happen: Individuals who vary in motivation, from hardcore bigots to those just seeking a thrill, as well as victims who felt that they should report this because they're not alone."

"Even so, we can't just explain away the increase with increased reporting." - REUTERS