RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hate crimes in North Carolina are on the rise. The FBI’s Charlotte office reports they’re up almost 50% in recent years.
Hate crimes and threats to certain groups have been documented several times in the last few months throughout the Triangle.
In August, flyers containing anti-Semitic rhetoric were scattered through several Raleigh neighborhoods. The documents included a link to the Goyim Defense League, a group the Anti-Defamation League describes as a “loose network of individuals connected by their virulent antisemitism.”
Just this week, buildings within the Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, including the Jewish for Good JCC, were evacuated because of a bomb threat.
Rise in hate crimes
The FBI’s latest numbers show nationally, reported hate crime incidents increased 11.6% from 2020 to 2021. More than 5,800 incidents were reported in 2015 with 9,065 reported in 2021.
In North Carolina, the FBI says local agencies reported an increase of 47% from 2020 to 2021. The bureau says 185 were reported in 2020 with 2021 seeing 273 reported incidents. Data from 2022 is expected in the coming weeks.
One of those cases being prosecuted involves Marian Hudak. Prosecutors said on Oct. 13, 2022, Hudak began to yell racial slurs at a Black man while in traffic. The victim said Hudak followed him all the way home where he continued to yell slurs and threatened the victim along with his girlfriend with a gun.
Hudak is also accused of confronting and getting into a physical fight with a Hispanic man after making derogatory comments at him. That victim said Hudak tried to run him off the road on a previous occasion. The victim’s mother told police Hudak had tried to attack her dog in the past. Court documents said she’d recorded Hudak yelling obscenities at her in the past.
Reporting hate crimes
The Charlotte Division of the FBI has launched an advertising campaign across North Carolina to raise awareness about federal hate crimes and to encourage the public to report them to the FBI.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
“No one should be targeted because of how they look, where they’re from, or any part of their identity. Hate crimes have no place in our country, our state, or our communities. We encourage victims to report hate crimes to the FBI, we are here to listen and to help,” said Robert M. DeWitt, special agent in charge of the FBI in North Carolina, in a statement.
If you believe you are a victim or a witness of a hate crime, the FBI encourages you to report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip at tips.fbi.gov.