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Hate Crime Incidents Spike in Capital Region

By Thomas J. Carr

Incidents of hate crime in the Capital Region rose at a higher rate than the state in 2010, according to new statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Services.

While hate crime incidents only rose 2.3 percent statewide and declined 14.7 percent outside New York City, they increased 19 percent in the Capital Region (See Chart). In all, hate crimes remained to be relatively rare occurrences in the region, meaning small increases could dramatically impact incident rates. Regionwide, hate crime incidents rose to 25 in 2010 from 21 the previous year. During the same period, incidents rose statewide to 699 from 684.

2010 Hate Crime Incidents in the Capital Region


2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Capital Region

33

20

30

21

25

  • Albany County

22

12

14

10

14

  • Rensselaer County

2

0

2

2

2

  • Saratoga County

1

7

9

4

5

  • Schenectady County

8

1

5

5

4

Non- NYC

320

322

338

395

337

NYS

621

647

599

684

699

Data from  the New York State Division of Criminal Services

These statistics reflect the impact New York’s Hate Crimes Act (Article 485 of New York’s Penal Law) has had during its first decade as law. The act, which was enacted in 2000, enhanced the penalties for a range of offenses committed against people because of their race, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation. These offenses include assault, menacing, harassment, robbery, criminal mischief, stalking, arson, and others. According to a Division of Criminal Services report, the destruction, damage or vandalism of property was the most common type of hate crime, accounting for 31.6 percent of incidents statewide. It was followed by simple assault and intimidation, which accounted for 30.3 percent and 23.6 percent of incidents, respectively.

It is important to remember that on offense is not a hate crime simply because an accused offender is one of color or gender, religion or sexual orientation and an alleged victim is of another. People accused of committing a hate crime should contact a criminal defense attorney, who could challenge a prosecutor’s attempt to link these differences to hate and therefore subject the alleged offender to lengthier prison times, fines or mandatory rehabilitation.

Thomas J. Carr, Esq. is a partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC and concentrates his practice in the area of Criminal Defense, including DWI. He can be reached at tcarr@1888law4life.com. The schedule a meeting with one of Tully Rinckey PLLC’s criminal defense attorneys call 1-888-LAW-4LIFE.

 

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