BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Hate crimes are increasing across our state. Sometimes it can be a poster found at Maryland universities, or incidents of outright violence.
College student Richard Collins III was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus. The suspect, Sean Urbanski, had been linked to an alt-right Facebook group.
“We have enough evidence to file a hate crime,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said previously.
Incidents of hate or bias are collected annually by Maryland State Police.
Few rise to the level of murder, but in 2017, 398 incidents were reported. That’s 103 more than 2016, a 35-percent jump.
Baltimore County reported the most incidents, followed by Montgomery County.
Being the top county for hate crimes doesn’t come as a surprise to Baltimore County police.
“We tend to be higher in our hate crime reporting,” said Baltimore Co. PD Cpl. Shawn Vinson. “What we think one connection to that is we encourage our officers to do what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to report this when we get called to an incident.”
And incidents like the racist graffiti painted at Glenelg High School in Howard County in May, continue to grow.
“There’s some people out there that our hateful and bigoted, and we can’t tolerate it,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
Increases in Maryland are being mirrored at the national level in hate crimes against Muslims.
“So it’s definitely in line with a national trend we’re seeing in terms of our unprecedented spike in just animosity and bias,” said Dr. Zainab Chaudry, with CAIR.
Whether it’s anti-Semitic fliers left on Hartford County lawns, or a note found at a mosque offering $100 for every Muslim slaughtered.
“They feel like they have the space to share their hatred and their views, and it’s festering more hatred and fear of marginalized communities,” Dr. Chaudry added.