Hate crime surges in America since Trump presidency
The number of hate crimes in the United States has surged since Donald Trump took office.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says the number of anti-Semitic incidents almost doubled in the first quarter of 2017 after a dramatic rise last year.
It comes as researchers have started to examine whether hate speech online could be used to alert police to hate crimes before they happen.
The tone of last year’s political campaign has been blamed for the toxic climate in the US and the prominence of so-called alt-right and white supremacist groups.
Reports of hate crimes against the Latino, Muslim and Jewish communities are noticeably up since November’s election.
And, while the ADL says it will not blame President Trump for that climate, a regional director in California says politics is responsible for the mood in the country.
Peter Levi told Sky News: “The most alarming statistic in my mind is that of all the incidents there has been a 106% increase in schools.
“Kids are hearing and seeing modelled in the greater community this type of hateful rhetoric and it has emboldened them to share or experiment.
“My concern is that this becomes a new normal.”
Joe Solis experienced a hate attack when vandals sprayed the word “illegal” on the side of his 1971 Volkswagen camper van.
Although of Mexican heritage, Joe was born in the US as were the last six generations of his family.
He said: “It is sad that there are people out there that don’t have respect.
“Let’s say I was an illegal or not from here, am I supposed to go because of some spray paint? I’m not even sure what their message is.”
Researchers from Cardiff University’s social data science lab are now working with the non-profit RAND Corporation to see whether hate speech on social media could predict where hate crimes might happen.
The research will use data collected by the Los Angeles Police Department and the wealth of social media traffic from across the force’s area.
Meagan Cahill, a senior policy researcher at RAND, told Sky News: “If we can raise the awareness among police and among the community about different hate crimes and also give police different tools for identifying areas where they need to put more resources, then we will call that a win.”
Mr Solis says, there has been more old-fashioned reaction in his community: a wave of support from locals. “This incident has brought my neighborhood together,” he said.
By Greg Milam