Hate crimes spiking in Charlotte, U.S.

An alarming trend is being seen across the U.S. -- including Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hate crimes across North Carolina are increasing, according to a disturbing report released by the FBI.

The FBI monitors reports of hate crimes on the basis of race, religion, sexuality and gender.

An analysis of all reports from North Carolina showed an overall increase of 15-percent from 2014 to 2015. In Charlotte, minority groups and the LGBTQ community saw the worst incline.

The FBI reports there were 16 hate crimes against minorities in 2015. In 2014, there were 11.

The FBI also found that crimes against the LGBTQ community nearly doubled, from five crimes to nine.

“I’m horrified,” says Matt Hirschy, director of advancement for Equality North Carolina.

“It clearly spells out something that many members of our community and other marginalized communities have known for a long time,” he says. “We don’t feel safe in our community. Especially in places like Charlotte where we’ve seen such a battle over non-discrimination protections, it really illustrates the need for those protections.”

Nationwide, crimes against Muslims have skyrocketed. Anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 67-percent in one year, according to the FBI. The numbers are now the highest they’ve been since 2001.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is tracking recent reports of harassment and intimidation. According to the center’s research, there have been more than 300 cases in the U.S. since Election Day.

"They've been everywhere -- in schools, in places of business like Walmart, on the street," SPLC President Richard Cohen said.

Concern is mounting that the crimes will increase in the coming weeks and months.

“No matter if you don't see it happening, it is a very real problem, and people's lives are very literally at stake,” Hirschy says.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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