Washington sets out steps to tackle hate crimes, a week after a deadly shooting in New York State

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) unveiled new initiatives on Friday to combat hate crimes, a week after 10 people were killed in what officials described as a “racially motivated” mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.

The initiatives include helping police and officials raise awareness of hate crimes, and setting up hotlines to report such incidents. 

Speaking at a DOJ-hosted event, Attorney-General Merrick Garland referred to last week’s mass shootings in California and New York State, saying: “we can honor victims’ memories by working to prevent more suffering moving forward, and that is what today is about.”

He said: “we know that the threats we face are evolving and that our strategies to confront them must evolve as well,” so the Justice Department needs to “make better use of our non-criminal tools.”

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Supermarket massacre probed as hate crime

According to FBI data, over 7,700 criminal hate crime incidents were reported in 2020, an increase of 450 compared to the previous year.

Preliminary data from 37 major American cities suggests that bias-motivated incidents rose by nearly 39 % last year and continued to increase in 2022. The 10 largest metropolitan areas reported a record increase of 54.5%, the Voice of America wrote earlier this month, citing an analysis of national police data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

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