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Violent crime drops, while hate-crime escalates

Violent crimes in Philadelphia decreased to the lowest level in more than three decades.
"Trump" with a swastika as the "T" was spray-painted on a store window the morning afCourtesy Don Scott

Violent crime in Philadelphia dropped to the lowest level in more than three decades, according to police, but Nazi-relatedvandalism, anti-Donald Trumpvandalismandreports of hateful actsin the weeks that followed Election Day descended like a plague upon the city.

The number of reported violent crimes was the lowest since 1979, authorities told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The total number of violent crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, reached 15,385 last year, a decrease of about 5 percent from 2015.

However, various forms of hate crimes seemed to proliferate after the presidential election.

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) affirmed this apparent increase, reporting 38 instances of hate crimes and bias instances in Philadelphia in the past two months, more than the number the city sees in a 12-month period, NewsWorks reported.

Rue Landau, PCHR'sexecutive director, told the news outlet that President-elect Trump's comments on Muslims, Mexicans and other groups have provoked some incidents.

"We have just listened to someone on the national stage who believes that you can say and do anything you want to say or do, even if it's hateful," Landau told NewsWorks. "The truth is, most of the people who are going to be in the White House very soon are never, ever going to deal with the consequences of these negative acts and hateful speech. And we on the ground know that's different."

Philadelphia's spike in hate crimes falls in-line with national trends. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported 900 instances of harassment and intimidation nationwide in the 10 days after the election, during which "many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success," the nonprofit advocacy group said in a report.

Instances of harassment also spawned a Twitter moment, "Day 1 in Trump's America," which documented "racist episodes" that occurredthe day after Election Day. Though some of those turned out to be hoaxes, many were not.

The SPLC said early in the new year that instances have eased since the post-election rash, but instances of hate-fueled harassment remain above their pre-election levels.

Heidi Beirich, head of the SPLC'sIntelligence Project, compared Trump's response with President George W. Bush's after the September 11 attacks and subsequent hate crimes against Muslims.

"The dynamic was altered when (then-president) George Bush went to a mosque," Beirichtold USA Today last week. "The number of incidents ground almost to a halt."

Meanwhile, Trump told his supporters to "stop it," but never took a further stance on the issue.

 

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