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Hate Crime Rate Rises In D.C., Bucking National Trend

Many hate crimes unreported, groups say

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The LGBT community is targeted most, according to MPD statistics, but groups say that's with crimes underreported.
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The LGBT community is targeted most, according to MPD statistics, but groups say that's with crimes underreported.

Hate crimes across the nation are on the decline, according to the FBI, but we're seeing the opposite trend in the District, where they are up by more than a third.

Overall, 92 hate crimes were recorded by the Metropolitan Police Deparment last year, compared to 68 the year before.

Hassan Naveed, with Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, says the statistics don't paint the full picture.

"Not a lot of people in the community, especially the LGBT community feel comfortable reporting their hate crimes to the police department," Naveed says.

MPD statistics show the majority of incidents in the District target the LGBT community, but FBI numbers omit hate crimes based on percieved gender identity and expression, which Naveed says is a big problem.

"Not having that category there really doesn't put priority in the fact that the transgender community is facing some of the most severe crimes across this country," Naveed says.

Racially-motivated hate crimes showed the largest jump, doubling in just one year. African-Americans were targeted more than any other racial group.

Reported crimes motived by bias against religious groups are few, but Ibrahim Hooper with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says hate crimes against Muslims are underreported and on the rise.

"I've had reports of hate vandalism at a mosque and the mosque officials tell us, don't report it, because we don't want to attract more attention to ourselves," Hooper says.

So far, MPD has reported 75 hate crimes this year.

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