Lawmakers Seek Harsher Hate Crime Penalties

In Violence and Hate On
- Updated

A study of law enforcement and government agencies’ data in 25 metropolitan areas showed the number of hate crimes jumped about 6 percent from 2015 to 2016. Hate crimes increased to 1,998 from 1,886, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernadino.

“What you are seeing is this widespread feeling of fear and disenfranchisement,” said Brian Levin, the director of the center and a criminal justice professor. “Social, political and demographic changes are becoming so rapid and unpredictable that people are reverting back to a kind of tribalism and acting out with hate crimes or acts of uncivilized bigotry.”

Many advocates point to the caustic presidential election as a culprit for the rash of hate unfolding since November.

More than 130 hoax bomb threats have been called into Jewish community centers across the country. Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized, headstones toppled and broken. Mosques were set on fire in Texas, Washington and Florida, two burned to the ground.

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