Maryland’s new hate-crime website hoped to boost reporting

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown announced a new online reporting system hoped to improve the statistics on hate crimes and "hate biases."
Maryland AG Anthony Brown
Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown gives closing remarks to Western Maryland law enforcement officials at the Hate Bias Incident Reporting Forum at Frostburg State University on May 10, 2023. (Maryland AG / Flickr)

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown on Tuesday announced a new website for reporting hate crimes that officials hope will reduce the number of such crimes that go unreported.

Augmenting a telephone hotline that opened in 2016, the website offers an additional means of reporting hate crimes and “hate biases,” acts that are not illegal, but that include behaviors like verbal abuse and displaying hate literature in public. The new reporting tool is hoped to improve the quality of data used to inform the state’s anti-hate efforts, such as the work of a task force created in 2021.

In a video on the new website, Brown explains how the site’s anonymous reporting tool fits into his office’s efforts to make the state a safer place.

“Tackling hate crimes and hate bias incidents is one of my top priorities as your attorney general, because there is no home for hate in Maryland. My office is working to create an environment here in Maryland where people feel safe speaking up, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or homelessness “ Brown says in the video, referencing some of the identities protected under the state’s hate crime laws — nationality and religious affiliation are also protected identities in Maryland.


According to an editorial published by the National Institute of Justice, only 1 in 31 hate crimes is reported. To explain the underreporting, researchers cited the reluctance by many victims to engage law enforcement and law enforcement agencies’ “inability” to recognize hate crimes when they occur.

Maryland officials said the new website will help track hate crimes and hate bias incidents, identify trends and inform the work of the attorney general’s office and the Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention. A spokesperson told StateScoop the group will use state data to recommend interventions as part of a year-end report. Almost one year ago, the office also named an assistant attorney general, Jennifer Frederick, who spends most of her time on anti-hate initiatives.

According to a 2022 state police report, hate crimes have been rising in Maryland — 465 hate crimes and hate bias incidents were reported in 2022, compared to 388 reports the previous year. Police succeed in verifying only a minority of reports each year, while a tiny percentage are discovered to be unfounded and most remain labeled as “inconclusive.”

From 2020-2022, crimes and biases motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry accounted for about two-thirds of all incidents, followed by religion and sexual orientation.

Black residents comprised 219 of 311 of racial hate crime victims in Maryland in 2022, far overshadowing every other racial group.


Maryland’s hate crime trends generally align with national statistics cataloged by the FBI. A 2022 report from the U.S. Department of Justice likewise shows that racial hate crimes against Black people, particularly Black men, are most common.

Jews, who represent less than 4% of Maryland’s population, bore the brunt of discrimination targeting religious groups, accounting for 77 of 105 religious hate crimes reported in 2022. That was an increase from 48 hate crimes against Jewish people in 2021. Karla Silvestre, president of Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education, last month testified before a House education subcommittee on the rise of antisemitism in K-12 schools.

About three-quarters of incidents reported in Maryland are bias incidents, not crimes. Vandalism and verbal intimidation overshadow other incident types, but of 476 reported hate crime incidents in 2022, 71 were physical assaults. Seven involved a knife or firearm.

Only five incidents were attributed to hate groups, such as the Klu Klux Klan, Proud Boys or Nazi ideology.

State officials said they’ll use the data collected by the new online reporting system, and other reporting channels, to direct projects intended to reduce hate crimes, like training sessions with police and criminal prosecutors, and hosting regional “hate bias reporting forums” with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.


The website notes that the reporting tool is not meant as a replacement for calling 911, which should still be the first step victims take after any crime.

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