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Race-based hate crimes up nearly 40 percent in D.C.

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Protesters gathered at a rally outside the McDonald's in Rosedale, Md., in April to call for more protections for transgender people. Police in D.C. say the majority of hate crimes in the city target people based on their sexual orientation.
Armando Trull
Protesters gathered at a rally outside the McDonald's in Rosedale, Md., in April to call for more protections for transgender people. Police in D.C. say the majority of hate crimes in the city target people based on their sexual orientation.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says while most bias crimes continue to be based on a victim’s sexual orientation, there’s been sharp increase in hate crimes based on race.

Lanier says so far this year, race-based hate crimes have made up nearly 40 percent of reported bias crimes - a four-fold increase over previous years. Among the targets of the crimes were Latinos working at construction sites.

She says it’s impossible to know whether this uptick – and the overall increase in reported hate crimes – is based on increased violence or better police reporting and outreach.

“The more comfortable people feel with reporting to police, the more they will come forward," Lanier said. "We all admit there is still a lot of unreported crime.”

Lanier said reported crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation remain the most prevalent hate crime and advocates say transgender women remain particularly vulnerable to violence.

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