Hate crime-related Incidents soar in Massachusetts

BOSTON — New concerns about hate-related acts, specifically against the Jewish faith, are being raised across the county.

A new report obtained by Boston 25 News shows anti-Semitic incidents have soared here in Massachusetts and are up more than 100 percent.

Nationwide, reports of hate-crime related incidents are up 34 percent, and Massachusetts ranks one of the highest in the country.

It's the hateful images, fliers, and phone threats that have surged across the state of Massachusetts, From 50 incidents in 2015 to 125 last year.

Anti-Defamation League of New England Regional Direct Robert Trestan said he believes it's partly due to the highly charged political climate, but they have a bigger fear.

“The increase in harassment and the increase in vandalism is a warning sign.  Because usually what comes after vandalism and harassment is assaults and violence,” he said.

California tops the list with 211 reports from last year, followed by New York, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts.

“We're looking at an 86 percent increase already in the first quarter compared to 2016 first quarter,” Doron Ezickson from the Anti-Defamation League said. “We know that we've seen an exponential increase as our kids spend more and more time online, they're going to see things that we would hope they wouldn't see.”

They also found schools seeing a tremendous growth in problems with hate-filled speech and slurs.

Those incidents have also more than doubled in the last year.

“What's important here is that community leaders and school administrators take this seriously.  And it's a signal that we need to be working in schools with kids,” Trestan said.

The Anti-Defamation League in Boston said the office has been working with 57 schools this year, and 16 additional schools have asked for help starting in the fall.