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FBI Report: Hate Crimes Tick Up In Idaho, Utah

In this Oct. 28, 2000 file photo, white supremacist Richard Butler, speaks through a megaphone at an Aryan Nations rally in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Aryan Nations is long gone from northern Idaho, but its reputation lingers to the chagrin of locals.
Tom Davenport
/
Associated Press
In this Oct. 28, 2000 file photo, white supremacist Richard Butler, speaks through a megaphone at an Aryan Nations rally in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The Aryan Nations is long gone from northern Idaho, but its reputation lingers to the chagrin of locals.

Hate crimes across the country were up 17 percent last year, according to the latest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation out this week.

Clicl 'play' to hear the audio version of this story.

Phyllis Gerstenfeld has studied hate crimes at California State University for more than two decades.

She isn’t surprised at an uptick in hate crimes, but she is surprised by how big the uptick was. 

“I suspect that what’s happening is some people feel more validated in their extremist beliefs because of the current political climate, so we’re seeing more crimes happening,” Gerstenfeld says.

At the same time, she says more people are reporting hate crimes.

In Idaho, the number of reports nearly doubled last year from 27 to 53. Utah also saw a double-digit jump.

Still, Gerstenfeld says the data is incomplete – police departments don’t have to report hate crimes to the FBI and she says many don’t.

“It’s usually an issue with local law enforcement priorities rather than a lack of anything happening in that location.”

This is the third year in a row hate crimes have been up in the U.S.Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

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James Dawson joined Boise State Public Radio as the organization's News Director in 2017. He oversees the station's award-winning news department. Most recently, he covered state politics and government for Delaware Public Media since the station first began broadcasting in 2012 as the country's newest NPR affiliate. Those reports spanned two governors, three sessions of the Delaware General Assembly, and three consequential elections. His work has been featured on All Things Considered and NPR's newscast division. An Idaho native from north of the time zone bridge, James previously served as the public affairs reporter and interim news director for the commercial radio network Inland Northwest Broadcasting. His reporting experience included state and local government, arts and culture, crime, and agriculture. He's a proud University of Idaho graduate with a bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. When he's not in the office, you can find James fly fishing, buffing up on his photography or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.
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