ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hate crimes in New Mexico are up and one group specifically is seeing more violence against them than others. Hate crimes against African Americans are on the rise in New Mexico. The NAACP said they’re working with state lawmakers to increase the punishment for people who commit a hate crime.
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In the latest statistics from the FBI, state law enforcement agencies reported 55 incidents of hate crimes in New Mexico in 2020. Five more than the year before. “I think it’s important, it’s a serious situation here in New Mexico and in America as a whole,” said Albuquerque NAACP President, Harold Bailey, Ph.D.
In 2020, News 13 reported on a couple of local businesses that were targeted. Vandals destroyed a Santa Fe Indian restaurant, leaving behind racial slurs on the walls and one downtown Albuquerque Asian restaurant had graffiti sprayed ‘watch with the coronavirus’ on their back walls.
According to the recent FBI stats, most of the reports are about race. The top targets: African Americans.
“We know that African Americans are adversely affected by hate crimes but Chinese, Asian and Pacific Islanders, the LGBTQ trans citizens – they’re being subjected to racial hatred,” said Bailey. “So we all need to be aware of this situation and do something about it.”
News 13 asked whether the recent Black Lives Matter protests both nationwide and here locally are driving up the number of hate crimes against African Americans. The FBI and the NAACP aren’t sure exactly what’s behind the spike but that’s something they continue to look into. Hispanic, white, and gay men also fell victim to hate crimes in New Mexico last year. The data is troubling to the Albuquerque chapter of the NAACP. They said they’re working with state lawmakers to increase penalties for people who commit hate crimes.
“I think it’s a sign of the times. We have to do something about it or otherwise, things could drastically be amplified,” said Bailey. “We’ll find more target groups being, violence directed towards these target groups so if we can pass legislation that has teeth in it, I think that would be a deterrent.”
The Albuquerque FBI division believes there is a lot more hate crime going on in our state that is not being reported. They’re working on a campaign to encourage people to report hate crimes to law enforcement. If someone is convicted of a hate crime currently, they could get another year or two added to their sentence or have to do community service or education programs.