Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh said his office will receive a Department of Justice grant to help address hate crimes in the state.
According to a release from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), hate crimes and bias incidents have seen a significant increase in Maryland over the past five years. Incidents motivated by race, ethnicity, or ancestry account for over 73% of those reported in 2020.
“All Maryland citizens and visitors have a right to live without fear that they will be attacked or targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender,” said Frosh. “This grant will allow my office to lead a comprehensive effort to train law enforcement agencies and engage partners to identify and respond to hate crimes.”
The grant, totaling $833,334, is facilitated by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and is designed to fund a three year, multi-level effort to:
- enhance community-based partnership by creating a Hate Crimes Task Force comprised of law enforcement, civil rights agencies and community-based organizations;
- develop a statewide hate crime web portal;
- conduct regional hate crime summits;
- and train law enforcement and prosecutors.
Frosh’s office will also hire an assistant attorney general and a program manager to lead the Hate Crimes Task Force’s activities and oversee the creation of the web portal and regional summits.
The Maryland State Police will also receive a subaward to develop a virtual hate crimes and incidents training platform.
Though Maryland has recently toughened its hate crime laws and expanded protected categories, reporting, training, supporting victims and obtaining resources for state prosecutors remains a challenge, the release said.