Hate crime down in Ohio, FBI reports

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In Ohio, authorities reported 300 hate crimes in 2006, down from 443 the year before, according to FBI statistics.

Shari Kochman is the regional director for the Anti-defamation league which monitors hate crime activity. She says the lower numbers do not signal a downturn in hate-related crimes in Ohio.

“I can tell you just from my limited experience, I know I am not witnessing any decrease in the occurrence of hate crimes,” she said.

Kochman says there are no uniform reporting methods nationwide and there is no requirement for law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes. So, she says, the FBI statistics paint an incomplete picture.

“I think we have to take these statistics with a big grain of salt knowing that the accuracy in reporting is not fully reliable,” she said.

According to the FBI report, racial prejudice accounted for more than half of the reported instances nationwide. Columbus reported 43 racially biased incidents in 2006, which is four times higher than the next highest number among Ohio cities.

Kochman says she agrees that racial bias accounts for most hate crimes but adds class bias is becoming a bigger problem.

“Even at the school level I really believe classism, classism, rich versus poor, is becoming more and more of an issue in our entire society,” she said.