2016 | Police & Fire

Police Chief Says Montgomery County Has Seen 17 Percent Increase in Reported Hate Crimes in 2016

Chief Tom Manger said there's been a 'disturbing uptick' recently

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Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger spoke out in a video message Thursday to condemn an increase this year in the number of hate-based incidents that have been reported in the county.

Manger said so far this year the police have received 62 reports about hate crimes, an increase of 17 percent. In 2015, a total of 63 incidents were reported. Manger said most incidents were motivated by bias against certain races, religions and ethnicities or people with different sexual orientations.

“Each one of these cases represents a victim or community that is harmed,” Manger said. “Some victims feel powerless and vulnerable and that’s why it’s so important to demonstrate our care for these victims while we condemn these crimes.”

Over the past two months, police and the county’s school system have reported incidents that include a racial slur found Nov. 11 on the bathroom wall of Sligo Creek Elementary School in Silver Spring, a sign vandalized at a Silver Spring church to say “Trump Nation whites only,” swastikas drawn Nov. 11 on a bathroom wall at Bethesda’s Westland Middle School and painted sometime between Oct. 29 and 30 outside Burning Tree Elementary School in Bethesda and a swastika burned Oct. 13 into a football field at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg. Some of those incidents occurred in the wake of the Nov. 8 election of Republican Donald Trump as president.

Police spokesman Rick Goodale said Thursday officers are continuing to investigate the incidents and no arrests have been made. He said Crime Solvers is offering an award for up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest in some of the cases and police are hoping the public will come forward with information.

Manger described the recent uptick in hate-based incidents as “disturbing.” He said a detective is assigned to each hate crime reported to the department.

“Hate is unacceptable,” Manger said. “These acts are crimes against all of us, and they will not be tolerated.”