Hate Crimes are On the Decline, But Improvement is Still Needed - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Hate Crimes are On the Decline, But Improvement is Still Needed

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Montana -

A new study has been released on the number of hate groups in the United States. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, they declined 7% in 2013, and Montana was no exception. In 2012, we knew of 12 in our state, but that has now decreased to 8.

But just because our numbers are down, doesn't mean things aren't occurring. Rachel Carroll Rivas, the co-director for the Montana Human Rights Network, says, "I don't believe we are at our peak as we were just a few years ago, but I do still see concerning activity."

Just last month two men were charged with hate crimes and a felony burglary when they broke into an apartment occupied by African American males. They wrote racist terms on the walls and kitchen counters and stole from their home, creating a total of $3,000 in damages.

According to Rachel, Another important thing to note is that, "There are some protected classes in other states that are not in Montana. It's not currently a hate crime in the state of Montana for an assault that is biased against someone who is gay or lesbian."

Montana is one of twenty states that have hate crime laws that do not include crimes based on sexual orientation or gender. This is something that Rachel, and the rest of the Montana's Human Rights Network, have tried to change for the last twenty years. But have had no success. If you would like to join their fight for equality across the state of Montana, head over to their website at: (http://www.mhrn.org/index.html).

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