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Spike in hate crimes nationwide, in Minnesota

Reported hate crimes spiked by 17 percent nationwide and 23 percent in Minnesota, according to a new FBI report released Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Last year, 7,175 crimes were reported nationwide, up from 6,121 in 2016. In Minnesota, 42 law enforcement agencies reported 146 bias-related crimes, up from 119 in 2016. The prior two years saw a decrease.

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, there were 48 anti-black, 21 anti-white, 21 anti-LGBT, 16 anti-Jewish and 10 anti-Muslim incidents in 2017.

Fifty-two of these were classified as intimidation in the BCA’s report. There were also 48 counts of vandalism and 23 reported simple assaults.

Still, these numbers don’t provide an exact portrayal of hate crimes. Victims may choose not to report to law enforcement, and agencies differ on how they define hate or bias-related crimes.

The majority of the 353 Minnesota agencies participating with the FBI reported zero hate crimes. Oakdale was the one city in Washington County to report a hate crime. Earlier this year, an Asian family allegedly found graffiti on their garage and car, including racist language.

One-thousand more law enforcement agencies participated in the report last year compared to 2016, the FBI notes in its report.

Although 2017 saw an increase from the previous year, it’s not the all-time highest. In 2004, Minnesota had 239 incidents reported.

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