FBI: Hate crimes on the rise

CHATHAM – There’s a disturbing trend in our country. According to the FBI, hate crimes are on the rise. Even before you look at the numbers, there seems to be anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that illustrates that rise.

This past weekend, a lone gunman held several people hostage, including the rabbi, at a Jewish synagogue near Houston, Texas.

On the same day, a homeless man pushed an Asian American woman to her death from a subway platform in New York City.

Here in the Capital Region, many residents tell NewsChannel 13 they’ve seen an influx in hate group recruitment literature posted in public places. That reality led to a "Stop the Hate" rally in Chatham on Wednesday.

According to the FBI, there was a 13% increase in hate crimes reported in 2020. That includes a 76% rise in attacks on Asian Americans.

The majority of anti-ethnic attacks in the country, 55%, are committed against African Americans.

The vast majority of anti-religious attacks, 63%, are targeting Jewish Americans.

Part of the impetus for Wednesday’s rally in Columbia County was to nip hatred in the bud in their community.

"I think any expression of hate is a threat to the community," said Michael Richardson, organizer of the rally. "What’s that old saying, the unity in the community gets the job done? Hate doesn’t work toward unity, does it?"

"I may not live to see the success of this rally, although I hope to," stated Pastor Kim Singletary, an activist. "My goal is that our children and our children’s children will be able to look back and say, ‘We stood at a time that turned the tide of racism in this nation. They are living out the dream and are the beneficiaries of it.’"

Even though the numbers from New York state show a drop in hate crimes last year, which bucks the national trend, an FBI spokesperson tells NewsChannel 13 many police departments failed to report their crime numbers, rendering the report incomplete.

The same spokesperson also points out there’s no way to know for sure how many hate crimes go unreported.