Hate crime has hit an all-time high according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. But as the crimes increase, the number of agencies reporting it has dropped.
“We are experiencing the highest level of hate crime in this country,” Susan Corke, the director of the Intelligence Project for SPLC, said.
According to the latest data from the FBI, there was a 31% increase in hate crime incidents from 2020 to 2021. More than 60% of the victims were targeted because of race or ethnicity. At the same time, there’s been a major drop in agencies reporting crime to the FBI. In Florida, 67% of agencies reported crimes to the FBI in 2020. In 2021, only 33% did. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office did not report.
“I’m saddened and I’m hurt. Especially for the families that are missing someone to come home for them now,” said Florida Representative Angie Nixon. She represents the district that was home to a racially motivated mass shooting Saturday. “I had a mom tell me today that her son is afraid for her to go to the grocery store. That is ridiculous.”
Nixon said she blames the rhetoric from politicians. Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that banned public colleges and universities in Florida from funding diversity, equity, and inclusion programming. DeSantis previously said that creates exclusion.
“That’s not an ideology. That is programming that allows us to push back against bigotry, against hatred, against white supremacy, against discriminatory things,” Nixon said. She told Action News Jax she plans to push to repeal the bill on the House floor.
Governor DeSantis’ office has so far not returned our request for comment on Nixon’s plan.
“By the time you get to a hate crime, you’ve already lost. Everybody has a responsibility to speak out,” said Corke.
SPLC research shows hate crimes are on the rise because of an increase in acceptance that political violence is okay. Corke said racism is also becoming more mainstream. She said funding should go towards preventing programs to stop youth from going into supremacy at a young age.
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