Hate crimes were up nearly 50 percent in Virginia last year, with Jews making up the second-most targeted minority group according to a report from the Virginia State Police. The 2017 crime report, released this month, details 202 hate crimes in the 2017 calendar year: African Americans were the target in 68, Jews in 22, homosexuals in 14, Hispanics in 10 and Muslims in eight.
Forty-six percent of all the reported hate crimes were vandalism or property damage offenses, similar to what occurred at the start of Passover last year, when swastikas and anti-Muslim slogans were spray-painted on the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia and Little River United Church of Christ. Daylan Mahone, a 20-year-old Annandale man, was charged in connection with both incidents.
“People seem to be more comfortable sharing their less-attractive sides publicly,” said Jeff Dannick, the executive director at the center. “Whether or not there was always this underpinning that’s only coming out now more readily, or whether there’s an actual uptick in the sentiment, I can’t speak to. But we’ve become a society where people feel much more comfortable saying what’s on their mind.”
In 2016, there were 137 hate crimes in Virginia and six anti-Jewish crimes, according to state police.