Tallahassee – Hate crimes are on the rise in the Sunshine State.
According to a report released by the Florida Attorney General, hate crimes increased 22.3% in 2012, totalling 170 for the year. More than half of the crimes were motivated by race, but anti-gay attacks are the second most common type of hate crime, accounting for 28.8 percent.
Other motivating factors are religion (10%), ethnicity (6.5%) and mental disability (.6%)
Orange County was the Florida county with the most hate crimes reported in 2012, at 32 crimes. That’s up from 26 hate crimes in 2011. Brevard County had the second-most, with 15 hate crimes reported in 2012, up from six in 2011. Alachua County came in third, with 14 hate crimes reported in 2012, down from 15 in 2011.
Previously, the number of hate crimes statewide had dropped 6.7% from 2010 to 2011.
Thirty counties total reported hate crimes in 2012, compared to 31 in 2011, with four “new” counties reporting hate crimes in 2012 that had reported zero in the previous year. Conversely, four counties who had reported hate crimes in 2011 reported none in 2012.
Reporting agencies include county sheriff’s offices, municipal police departments and University police departments.