2017 | Police & Fire

Hate Incidents on Decline in Montgomery County after Post-Election Flurry

Police chief says rate of occurrence much less after spike in November and December

Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger

Bethesda Beat file photo

Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said Tuesday the sharp increase in the rate of hate-based incidents in the county after the election has subsided.

Manger told the County Council on Tuesday that the increase in anti-Semitic vandalism and cases of racial or ethnic intimidation throughout the county after the presidential election “seems to be short-lived” and police have not seen the same rate of occurrence in early 2017 as in November and December.

The department received about seven reports per month of bias-related incidents in the county from January through October, followed by 18 incidents reported in November and 14 in December. Manger said police made arrests in about one-third of the cases.

Bias incidents reported per month, according to Montgomery County police.

Manger said he believed the spike was caused by the divisive presidential election in which “people on opposite extremes shouted each other down, ridiculed each other and when the election occurred, some saw themselves as winners, some as losers, and they decided to act out on their emotions.”

In Montgomery County, that manifested itself in the form of such incidents as swastikas drawn on public school buildings and a church sign being vandalized in Silver Spring to say “Trump Nation whites only.”

Local officials pushed back against the incidents by declaring the county as a welcoming community during a Silver Spring rally in November.

Of the 94 hate and bias incidents reported to police in 2016, 40 were acts of vandalism, 17 involved verbal intimidation, 17 were physical assaults, 11 involved written intimidation, six involved the use of flyers and three were classified as miscellaneous.

Those “miscellaneous” incidents included a noose found hanging from a beam near a school, the theft of a sign from a church and a workplace incident involving the inappropriate display of an employee’s belongings, according to police, which did not provide specific details about the incidents in a report submitted to the council.

Of the 38 incidents that appeared to be religiously motivated, police reported 31 were anti-Jewish, three were anti-Islam five were “anti-multi religious” in nature; a majority of those that appeared to be racially motivated targeted African Americans:

In November and December, police reported a 167 percent increase in hate incidents compared to the same months in 2015, when only 12 incidents were reported.