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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Maryland Hate Crimes Decline

While the number of hate crimes in Maryland fell by about half in the last 10 years, according to FBI data, religiously-motivated crimes are on the rise as a percentage of reported incidents.

The numbers of total hate crime incidents slid 20.4 percent from 2004 to 2005 alone, following a decade-long trend, the data show. In 1995, Maryland agencies reported 353 hate crimes, the vast majority of them racially motivated. By the end of 2005, that number had dwindled to 195....

While Maryland's falling incidence rate outpaced a 6 percent decline nationally in hate crimes last year, the state's police agencies reported the 10th highest incidence of hate crimes among the 48 states that contributed to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

Maryland law enforcement officials said the overall decrease was evidence of the state's redoubled efforts to report and track hate crimes....

Maryland was included among nine states that accounted for 80 percent of all incidents of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in the United States in 2005, according to a report released in September by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Those numbers -- Muslims living in Maryland reported 85 incidents -- were not clearly reflected in the FBI's data, which identified 52 hate crimes motivated by religion but did not break them down by faith. [Link]

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