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Reported Hate Crimes Up Again In Vermont, According to FBI's 2017 Data

A bar graph showing the number of reported hate crimes in Vermont by year. In 2017 there were 34 reported and in 2016 there were 25.
Data: FBI Hate Crime Statistics; Graph Screenshot: Liam Elder-Connors, via Infogram
According to data from the FBI, reported hate crimes in the United States and Vermont increased in 2017. There were 34 reported hate crimes in Vermont last year, up from 25 in 2016.

Reported hate crimes increased in Vermont last year, according to FBI data released Tuesday. This is the second consecutive year reported hate crimes increased in Vermont. 

According to the FBI, in 2017 there were 34 reported incidents in the state — more than half of which took place in Chittenden County.

In 2016, there were 25 hate crime incidents reported in the state.

Explore the FBI's 2017 Hate Crime Statistics (organized by state)

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said there are many motives for crime, including hate.

“Unfortunately we’re seeing people feeling a license to exercise that motive more often than before — unfortunately not just in Vermont, but nationwide," del Pozo said. "And the police department here is not going to tolerate that."

Del Pozo said the department makes an effort to work with vulnerable communities.

“We make sure that they know who to reach out to if they need to report a crime, not just by calling 911 but by calling our community affairs officers or our supervisors or even ... our deputy chief of operations,” he said.

Del Pozo said his department also tries to regularly update its hate crime numbers and publishes those reports online.

A look at the FBI's data on reported hate crimes in Vermont, by year:

In a recent VPR-Vermont PBS Poll, 53 percent of respondents said racism is either a “big problem” or “somewhat of a problem” in the state.

Right now, the FBI data is only available through 2017, but already in 2018 there have been several high-profile incidents in Vermont that have involved people being allegedly targeted for their race.

The Attorney General's Office is investigating allegations of racial harassment directed at former Bennington Rep. Kiah Morris, who said threats she received factored into her decision not to seek re-election (she subsequently stepped down from her position).

This summer, it was reported that kids at a camp in Stowe were targeted with racial slurs. Separately, a man was arrested after he allegedly went into a store yelling racial slurs and waving a gun.

The hate crime statistics that the FBI publishes are reported voluntarily by local law enforcement. In Vermont, 90 agencies participated and 17 submitted incident reports in 2017.

Nationally, the FBI data shows that the number of reported hate crimeswent up for the third year in a row.

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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