ROCKVILLE, Md. - The number of hate crimes and bias incidents in Montgomery County during the months following the election increased 167 percent from November and December the previous year.
The Montgomery County Police Department Annual Report on Bias Incidents indicated the spike follows “a political season that seemed to embolden people in the way they expressed themselves, and prompted the Maryland Attorney General to set up a hotline in mid-November for people to report bias crimes.”
There were 94 total reported bias incidents in 2016, a 42.4 percent increase from the 66 bias incidents reported in 2015.
Vandalism accounted for 59 percent of the total incidents, frequently involving swastikas. Religion was the motivator for many of the crimes.
One victim reported that someone spray painted a swastika on his front door and stole his American flag, and that in prior weeks, his political signs had been destroyed and his home egged.
Another victim reported that their family's vehicles were vandalized overnight with swastikas and statements related to the family's political affiliation.
The hate crimes are not being committed against just one race or political party. Police report a group of high school students hung a sign outside a bathroom door reading, "Whites Only," while an elementary school student reported that someone had written "Kill all whites" on a bathroom wall.
To report a bias or hate crime, call the Montgomery County Police Department at (301) 279-8000.