Anne Arundel County saw 16 more hate crimes in 2017 compared to 2016, according to Maryland State Police.
The recently released report shows that Anne Arundel had 63 reports of hate crimes or bias incidents in 2017. It had 47 in 2016. The trend is continuing into 2018, said county police spokesman Marc Limansky. He said the county has seen 49 reported hate crimes or bias incidents between January and July, compared to 35 over the same period last year.
Anne Arundel’s increase in 2017 is in line with what Maryland saw overall in 2017, as police say there were 398 reports of such incidents, an increase of 103 compared to 2016.
Much of the increase came from more densely populated regions. Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties also saw increases in reported hate crimes. Most rural counties did not see an increase or had no reported hate crimes in 2017.
Limansky said the numbers probably under-represent the issue as the report only outlines hate crimes reported to local police departments.
The most common target in such incidents are black people, as the victims of 177 out of 398 reported cases statewide were black, according to the report.
It’s in line with what officers have encountered in Anne Arundel, Limansky said. Of the 63 reported incidents in the county in 2017, 49 were motivated by “race, ethnicity or ancestry,” according to the report.
In May 2017, two men were charged with a hate crime after they were caught on video hanging a noose at Crofton Middle School.
Conner Prout, 20, of Crofton, pleaded guilty to the hate crime in a unique agreement that saw him avoid prison in lieu of community service dictated by the county’s NAACP chapter.
However, John Havermann, 20, of Pasadena, took the case to trial and was found not guilty of the hate crime charge after the judge ruled prosecutors would have needed to prove he was targeting named individuals rather than a general group of people.
Limansky said the majority of hate crimes against blacks in the county involve the use of a racial slur directed at the victims.