Massachusetts had the highest rate of reported hate crimes in the country last year, according to a new FBI report. There were 5.9 hate crime incidents for every 100,000 people in 2016, giving it the highest rate of reported hate crimes in the U.S. per capita.
The report shows more than half of the crimes statewide were based on race. More than 70 incidents were based on sexual orientation. And about a quarter were religion-based.
John Robbins, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Massachusetts, says they have seen a huge increase in hate crimes in the last year alone.
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"Here in Massachusetts, we’ve documented over 200 requests for help around incidents ranging from employment discrimination, at schools, bullying or issues at the airports specifically targeting the Muslim American community," he explained.
Robert Trestan with the Anti-Defamation League in New England says change starts at the top.
“It’s critical that we put a stop to the amount of hate and bigotry and name calling that’s happening at the highest levels.”
Trestam added, while Massachusetts has a long way to go, action is being taken.
“Governor Baker is taking a national lead in bringing people together to talk about these exact issues.”
Seventy communities, a dozen colleges, and the MBTA provided the FBI with hate crimes reports.