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Central Texas hate crime numbers are under reported, critics say

2017-18 hate crimes in Central Texas
Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-17 15:40:52-05

WACO, TX — Hate crimes hit a 16-year high in the U.S., according to the FBI's 2018 Hate Crime Statistics Report.

According to the report, the country saw a significant upswing in violence against Latinos.

The report shows fewer crimes against property, while physical assaults accounted for 61% of last year's hate crime numbers.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a "criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity."

Data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for the last two years shows relatively few Central Texas hate crimes.

Most Central Texas hate crimes involved race and occurred in:

  • One hate crime in Lacy-Lakeview
  • Two hate crimes in Bellmead
  • Four hate crimes in Waco
  • One hate crime in Hewitt
  • Two hate crimes in San Saba
  • Three hate crimes in Lampasas

”I'm surprised at how low they are, but then again, not surprised," said Hope Mustakim of the Waco Immigrants Alliance.

Why do hate crime numbers in Central Texas seem so low? Experts say it is because of two reasons.

One reason is misclassification. Crimes can either be misclassified by police or not reported as hate crimes.

The second reason is that the crimes go unreported by victims.

Mustakim says she hears complaints at least once a week, that's at least 52 times a year.

"So we're talking about 20 times more than what's been reported. Absolutely yeah, I would estimate about 20 times more, at least," said Mustakim. "They just don't know that sometimes when they're exploited or abused by say, an employer or something like that, they don't really know that they have rights."

Mustakim says the community should help victims report crimes committed against them.

"Just watching out for one another, and if you hear of a neighbor or a co-worker or a friend who has had a crime committed against them, inspired by hate or motivated by hate, that you say, "Hey you should report that." It's important that we track those statistics," she said.

Mustakim says she believes the more these crimes get reported the more effort we'll see to stop crimes based on nothing more than pure hate.