Hate crimes in DC on the rise, police say

WASHINGTON — The number of hate crimes reported to police in D.C. is on the rise.

D.C. police recorded 107 hate crimes in 2016, up from 66 the year before.

Police Chief Peter Newsham said it wasn’t immediately clear what led to the increase. He said he hoped it was a result of increased trust in the police and their outreach efforts —that more people feel comfortable coming forward. But he added, “It could be because people have become more emboldened, because of some of the things we see nationally.”

Newsham said the number of hate crimes directed at people based on race were down. However the number of hate crimes targeting other groups increased — in some cases — dramatically.

Hate crimes in D.C.
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At a news conference at the 6th and I Synagogue on Friday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Newsham were joined by Monica Palacio, the director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights along with members of the faith and LGBT communities.

Newsham said he’d stepped up his outreach to members of the affected communities and had his community liaisons report directly to him, so that he could keep on top of the trend in hate crime reports.

He also said his department was putting out fliers in six languages reassuring immigrants that the District of Columbia would not change its policies in contacts with members of the immigrant community. “We will not ask about immigration or residency status.”

Bowser had a message for D.C. residents: “Whether you’re black or white, straight or gay, whether you’re new to the city or have been here your entire life: My administration is committed to ensuring that our government protects you.”

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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