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FBI 2018 hate crime report shows low numbers on the Central Coast

Santa Maria PD

The FBI released its 2018 report on hate crimes this week, showing a slight a decrease from the previous year. On the Central Coast, the numbers were low.

“They're very, very few and far between,” said detective Phil Dix of the Santa Maria Police Department. “I've worked here for several years and I haven't investigated a hate crime since I've been here.”

According to the report, Santa Maria PD investigated one racially motivated hate crime in 2018. The agency didn't report any incidents to the FBI in 2017.

“Luckily, we live in a great city; people seem to respect each other for the most part,” said Dix.

Hate crimes involve specific property or personal attacks motivated “by the person's race, creed, gender, sexual orientation,” the detective said.

Police say they take additional steps to determine whether an incident falls into the category.

“Further investigation would lead into that, talking to the victim, it would depend on what was the suspect saying, witnesses, what did the witness hear the suspect say,” said Dix.

In San Luis Obispo city, six hate crimes were reported in 2018, while two were recorded for Santa Barbara city.

FBI statistics show law enforcement agencies across the nation reported a total of 7,120 hate crimes last year, down slightly from the 7,175 incidents the previous year.

While vandalism is down, assaults are up. The report shows Latinos and African Americans were the most targeted groups.

The top hate crime reports in 2018 at the national level include:

  • Nearly 60 percent because of a race bias
  • 20 percent by religious bias
  • 17 percent by sexual-orientation bias

More than 16,000 law enforcement agencies reported their hate crime stats to the FBI in 2018.

However, some experts say more than half of all hate crime victims don't report an incident to authorities.

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Nathalie Vera


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