America, Michigan grappling with rise in hate crimes, how incidents impact more than the individual

60% of violent hate crime victimizations motivated by race or ethnicity, new DOJ report shows
Posted at 1:35 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 18:41:40-04

(WXYZ) — There is a steady rise in hate crimes across the country and right here in Michigan.


The Justice Department is sharing new information over a 15-year period and the victims involved in these crimes.

A new report shows that almost 60 percent of violent hate crime victimizations are motivated by a person's race or ethnicity.

Advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League of Michigan says these numbers don’t surprise them. Another local advocacy group says the numbers are a reflection of the hate that they are working to remove in the community.

"It used to be people live in silence, silence equals death, we know this,” said Curtis Lipscomb, executive director of LGBT Detroit.

But now people are speaking up about their personal experiences with hate crimes.

As he takes a look at the latest hate crime numbers from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice statistics, he’s not surprised at the specific groups, who fall victims to hate crimes.

"Unfortunately our history is rooted in violence against people that look like me,” he said.

From 2015 to 2019, the report shows that 59 percent of violent hate crime victimizations reported by victims were motivated by bias against their race, ethnicity and national origin; 24 percent believe they were targeted because of their gender, and 20 percent believe it’s because of their sexual orientation.

"We are living within the intersection of being Black and a member of the LGBT community," said Lipscomb.

That’s why places like the LGBT Center exist, a safe place for people and victims of hate crimes who need a listening ear, support and resources.

"We rely on the data to support the direction on how we offer trauma-based services,” he said.

Michigan’s Anti-Defamation League is also taking a close look at recent numbers.

Carolyn Normandin says the pandemic forced people to stay indoors so they saw a decrease in hate-driven vandalism, but it didn’t stop people from expressing themselves through other outlets.

"We saw a giant increase in incidents of harassment and that is because haters took to the internet,” said Normandin, regional director of ADL Michigan. "Here in Michigan, we have seen a rise, year over year of hateful incidents targeted at not only Jewish people but People of Color."

Hate Crime Victimization, 2005–2019 by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

She says these hate crimes don’t only impact the individual who is targeted.

"A crime against a Jewish person makes all Jewish people feel bad. A crime against a Black person makes all Black people feel bad. It has this multiplier effect,” she said.

Advocacy groups are pleased with another finding in the DOJ's report, the number of people calling to report crimes.

From 2010 to 2019 ,“the number of hate crimes recorded by law enforcement rose 10%."

“I think that people believe that by reporting and being heard, there is a sense that my problem will be solved,” said Lipscomb.

Normandin said, "Do I see it ending, I don’t, unless we start standing up to hate. Unless we start calling it out for what it is."