Uptick in Hate Crimes Reported in Arlington

Police said there has been five incidents of swastikas spray-painted on buildings along the Minuteman Bikeway so far this year

A Massachusetts town is seeing an increase in hate crimes and both police and community leaders are taking a stand.

Arlington Police said last year, there were 16 documented hate incidents in town including repeated vandalism of Black Lives Matter signs at local churches.

So far this year, there have already been five incidents including swastikas spray-painted on buildings along the Minuteman Bikeway.

Authorities say they don't understand the reason for the increase in the crimes, but they are concerned.

"There are a lot of different feelings going on not only in the country but right here," said Arlington Police Captain Richard Flynn. "And some people deal with those feelings in different ways."

The most recent incident happened within the last week in which a swastika was mailed directly to a home.

Area residents say any type of hate crime is unacceptable.

"This is where we're bringing up our families, we're trying to teach our children right from wrong. Of course it's upsetting," said resident Cindy Houle.

While police investigate all the incidents, they have a message for the culprits.

"If you're out there and your goal in life is to make people uncomfortable or put them in fear, know that we take that very seriously and we're going to do everything in our power to stop you," said Flynn.

In addition to the investigations, the Arlington Human Rights Commission will be hosting a town hall meeting on Sunday at 2 p.m. to talk about diversity and mutual respect.

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