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State police report uptick in hate crimes

August 24, 2019 07:47 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In 2019, New York State Police say there has been an increase in reported hate crimes.

In Greece, investigators are still looking for the person that spray-painted on North Greece Road Church of Christ back in April. In Geneva, a 12-year-old girl was arrested for drawing swastikas on several buildings including a church in July. Most recently in Brighton, 18-year-old Evan Dombroski was charged with a hate crime after he painted the "n-word" and a swastika on a car parked on Spier Avenue in August.

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Investigator Brent Bernard is a part of the NYSP Hate Crimes Unit. He says the team started in 2016 with more than 100 investigators assisting local departments to solve crimes that targeting a specific group of people in a negative way.

"It's a trend, it's something we need to address and it's something we need to keep at bay," Bernard said. "It's becoming an issue and it's hurtful to people."

Bernard says the majority of their cases are in the summer and typically involve graffiti but they also see an uptick close to election time.

"A lot of times it is deeper seeded and people do have these feelings of hate deep within them," Bernard said. "Or it could be something they recently picked up."

As this disturbing trend continues, Investigator Bernard reminds citizens to keep their eyes open.

"If something looks suspicious, it doesn't hurt to call 911 and have officers patrol the area," Bernard said. "It may be nothing, but it may lead to solving one of these crimes."

The latest FBI crime data from 2017 shows the majority of hate crimes are specifically targeting Black people and Jewish people.

Credits

Kaci Jones

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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