INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Hate crimes are on the rise all across the country and many in the community are feeling the affects at home.
According to the FBI report released Tuesday, in 2017, hate crimes increased about 17% compared to the previous year.
Leaders in the Jewish community say they already know this year’s numbers will be much higher and that’s why they’ve joined forces with a diverse coalition to fight for hate crime legislation in Indiana.
“It has been a rough couple of years for the Jewish community. We feel this rising antisemitism. We feel this rising discrimination across the board. It’s a time right now where the Jewish community is very much on edge,” said Assistant Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, David Sklar.
This year, we saw anti Semitic graffiti that littered a Carmel synagogue and a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Last year, the FBI hate crime report reveals of the more than 7,000 hate crimes reported in our country. Race and ethnicity made up 59.6% of the crimes, religion 20.6% and sexual orientation 15.8%.
50.7% of the offenders were white.
“Vandalism. We’ve seen people get letters. You know targeted letters in the mail. We’re hearing a lot from parents who have kids who are experiencing some sort of bullying or anti-Jewish discrimination in schools,” Sklar said.
55 hate crimes were reported in Indiana last year. As the fight continues to get hate crime legislation passed, the measure didn’t even make it out of a study committee this year.
“We think it’s time for the state to have that response and to once and for all sort of stand up and say these things are not tolerated,” Sklar said.
But for now, the message is for every act of hate, our community has responded with love.
“I hope that the perpetrators of these crimes, these incidents know that while they are trying to drive a wedge between folks and send a message of discrimination really what they’re doing is bringing folks closer together,” Sklar said.
The diverse coalition is already working on a bi-partisan plan to present hate crime legislation again next year. Governor Holcomb has expressed support for a hate crime law in Indiana.