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FBI Data Shows Decrease In Phoenix Hate Crimes

The number of hate crimes in Phoenix dropped last year by about 24 percent from 2015, according to new FBI Uniform Crime Reporting data published Monday.

“We hope that our aggressive approach to identifying bias related crimes and assigning them to a specific detective group that specializes in these crimes is related to the decrease,” Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard said in an email. “Public awareness and understanding that bias motivated crimes are not tolerated in Phoenix may also be driving the decrease.”

Despite the city’s first overall decrease since 2013, the Phoenix Police Department still had to investigate 175 crimes motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation or disability in 2016

The FBI compiles its annual report from information voluntarily submitted by local and state agencies.

Phoenix hate crimes spiked in 2015, when there were big jumps in crimes based on religion and sexual orientation.

Phoenix hate crimes based on race or ethnicity dropped significantly in 2016. Hate crimes due to sexual orientation went down slightly. And hate crimes over religion remained flat.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.