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Letter: We should all be vigilant about increasing hate crime rates


In October 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education sent a video warning to its online list that hate fliers by white supremacists are appearing with greater frequency on college campuses.

I am an alum (Ph.D., American Studies, 1983) and retired college professor who has studied hate crimes since the late 1980s. Hate crimes cause trauma, injury and death. Here is a link to a recent Southern Poverty Law Center article drawn from the FBI Uniform Crime report about the rise in hate crimes since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump:

FBI data, however, are incomplete due to lack of reporting by victims and law enforcement agencies. For 2004-2015, the National Crime Victimization Survey of hundreds of thousands of respondents reported an annual average of 250,000 hate crime victimizations. Use of hate language by offenders was cited by 99 percent of the victims.

Some hate crimes also are classified as domestic terrorism, such as the murders in 2012 at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and in 2015 at an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Acts of domestic terrorism also have increased dramatically in recent years:

Recent hate crimes in New Mexico include bombs found in Las Cruces outside three churches of various denominations, and in Albuquerque a bomb thrown at the Islamic Center of New Mexico and death threats to Jews posted on the doors of Nosh Deli in Nob Hill and on the street nearby.

I hope the UNM community will learn about hate groups and report hate crimes to local police.

Dianne R. Layden

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