Two Texoma cities on FBI hate crime report
WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - The FBI released its hate crime report for 2017 Tuesday.
The study shows Iowa Park and Burkburnett both reported two incidents last year.
Iowa Park had one hate crime based on race or ethnicity and another on religion.
In Burkburnett, hate crimes motivated by race or ethnicity and sexual orientation were reported.
The FBI’s stats show 2017 had 17-percent more hate crimes than 2016.
80-percent of victims were targeted because of their race, ethnicity or their religion.
But another worry for some is that several hundred police agencies did not report any hate crimes to the FBI, including Wichita Falls.
"We know that there’s historic under-reporting. We know that there are 90 cities across the United States that have populations of over 100,000 people or more that reported 0 or nothing,” said George Selim, Sr. Vice President, Anti-Defamation League.
Many agencies like WFPD and Iowa Park use the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system to enter information on crimes which is where the data for this study came from.
We asked Wichita Falls Police if they make the decision to charge someone with a hate crime, and we were told the district attorney is the one who does that.
Texas law allows prosecutors to add a punishment enhancement to a case if they find it was a hate crime. That could mean more jail time or fines for the person accused.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a national group that closely monitors hate groups and hate crimes, the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety all say they have identified at least 55 hate groups in the lone star state.
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