Map Shows Every Hate Crime Reported in DC in 2016 - NBC4 Washington

Map Shows Every Hate Crime Reported in DC in 2016

More than 100 police reports tell the troubling stories of dozens of victims

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hate Crimes Spike in DC

    The number of hate crime reports in D.C. rose from 2015 to 2016, and trends suggest it will continue to climb. News4's Mark Segraves speaks with the head of the D.C. Office of Human Rights on what may be happening.

    (Published Tuesday, June 20, 2017)

    A dramatically higher number of people reported being the victims of hate crimes in Washington, D.C. in 2016 than in 2015 -- and data for 2017 thus far suggests a continued increase.

    The Metropolitan Police Department provided News4 with the police reports for every hate crime reported in the city in 2016. The data does not include any incidents that occurred on federal land or at universities.

    Source: Metropolitan Police Department

    The interactive map above shows each of these reported crimes. Click on each dot to read what happened, when and how police categorized the incident.

    The numbers of hate crimes reported in the District were up in every category in 2016. The majority of the 106 crimes were committed on the basis of the victim's perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Fifty-six crimes in these categories were reported in 2016, marking a 51 percent increase from 2015.

    The director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, Mónica Palacio, said she believes the real number of hate crimes is even higher.

    "We don't always hear about what's happening," she said.

    The police reports tell the troubling stories of dozens of victims.

    Two men were walking along Georgia Avenue near the Petworth Metro station one evening in May 2016 when a group of 10 males started shouting anti-gay slurs at them and throwing balled-up Metro pamphlets. The men kept walking but found themselves faced by another hostile group.

    "Hey, they gay! Let' f--- them up!" one of four females said, the victims told police.

    As the men tried to get into a car, the females threw rocks at them, spit in one of the men's faces and kicked out the driver's side mirror.

    In October, near Logan Circle, a couple found the n-word gouged into their car. They're an interracial couple that has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years.

    In November, in Georgetown, a woman was walking about 1 a.m. when three people approached her. She moved off the sidewalk, but they pushed her down and yelled at her to take off her headscarf. Then, they laughed and walked away.

    Reported crimes in Northwest D.C. made up the majority of the reports, at 69 percent. Palacio posited that residents of that quadrant of the city may feel more comfortable calling the police than residents elsewhere.

    D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham declined to answer questions about the trends. In March, he said the crimes run contrary to D.C. values.

    "We will not accept this as the new norm," he said at a news conference.

    In March, he attributed the increase to a rise in reporting, an increase in awareness about hate crimes and national issues.

    "It could be because people have become more emboldened because of some of the things that we've seen nationally," the police chief said, without elaborating.

    The designation of a reported crime as a hate crime can change at any time, and prosecutors can choose whether or not to prosecute as a hate crime. If someone is convicted of a hate crime, a judge can impose a sentence of up to 1.5 times the maximum term of imprisonment or fine, a police spokeswoman said.

    Overall crime in D.C. has decreased in the past two years.

    Police say they have made arrests in 34 of the hate crime cases reported in 2016, with a 32 percent closure rate. In 2017, they say they have made arrests in 16 of the 51 cases, also with a 32 percent closure rate.

    If trends for 2017 continue, the hate crime totals for the year will climb even higher than they were last year.

    Palacio, the Office of Human Rights director, encouraged anyone who thinks they were the victim of a crime to report it. She urged residents to not "normalize toxic language."

    "We want to live in a city where people feel safe communicating who they are without necessarily trying to annihilate people who are different than them," she said.

    Sarah Dean, Alexandra Kruse and Kyle Rempfer contributed reporting.