Hate crime reports have grown in NH

Published: 1/20/2023 3:58:17 PM
Modified: 1/20/2023 3:57:59 PM

CONCORD, N.H. — The number of hate crime complaints being reported New Hampshire has grown in the nearly six years since the state set up a dedicated civil rights unit in the attorney general’s office.

The office received 187 hate crime complaints statewide in 2022, up from 40 complaints in 2018, according to Sean Locke, director of the Civil Rights Unit.

Locke told WMUR-TV his office is seeing acts related to race, sexual orientation and other marginalized groups among the complaints.

He said some cases are testing the limits of the First Amendment.

“Every time they are successful, it emboldens them, it emboldens others to engage in similar conduct, and I think that’s why we are seeing more,” he said.

Earlier this week, the state filed civil rights violations against what the Anti-Defamation League calls a New England-based neo-Nazi group and two members accused of displaying “Keep New England White” banners from an overpass in Portsmouth last year.

The group, identified as the Nationalist Social Club, also known as NSC-131, said it was being charged “for hanging a banner bearing a slogan protected by The First Amendment on public property.”

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