State and local leaders speak out against hate crime spike in Maryland

The slashed and defaced sign which advertises the church's Spanish-language services

The slashed and defaced sign which advertises the church's Spanish-language services

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD — State and local leaders in Maryland are speaking out against a recent spike in hate crimes in the state.

“Parents, teachers, students, police officers, and our entire community reject these cowardly acts and say in one strong voice,” said Montgomery County Police Department Chief J. Thomas Manger in a video posted to YouTube. “‘Hate is unacceptable. These acts are crimes against all of us, and they will not be tolerated.'”

Manger said there has been a 17% increase in hate crimes and bias incidents reported in Montgomery County in 2016. There have been 62 reported so far this year, compared with 63 in all of 2015.

He said there has been “a disturbing uptick in the number of hate crimes” in the past few weeks, but added the real total could be even higher.

“We’re also aware that some hate crimes are never reported to the police. Hate crimes are a serious issue for police. This crimes not only have a profound impact on the victim, but they can also send shockwaves throughout our community.”

Among the recent incidents: a sign outside a Hillandale church was vandalized with the words “Trump nation. Whites only”; and elementary, middle, and high schools have been vandalized with swastikas.

In its 2015 summary of hate crimes and bias incidents, the police department reported that swastika graffiti/vandalism was the most common incident.

Along with the video released by Chief Manger, Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh announced that his office has created a hot line for people to report suspected hate crimes. That number is 1-866-481-8361.