AURORA, Colo. – Hate crimes rose significantly in Aurora, according to FBI statistics released Monday. There were 18 hate crimes reported in the city last year, up 200 percent over the previous year.
While the city may have seen a steep increase in the number of hate crimes reported in 2016, Colorado’s stayed flat. There were 104 reported hate crimes in Colorado in 2016 compared to 107 in 2015.
However, Aurora’s increase is in line with the rest of the country, which saw more than 6,100 hate crimes in 2016, up about 5 percent over the previous year.
Aurora’s numbers were driven by crimes against people because of their race or ethnicity. Fifteen incidents reported in 2016 in Aurora involved race; Three incidents involved sexual orientation.
A suspect in one of the three incidents involving sexual orientation was sentenced in October for attacking a gay man back in June of last year. Long Hoang was given a three-year prison sentence for attacking and brutally beating a gay man at an apartment complex.
The victim of the attack, Nick Shores, told Denver7 he was targeted by Hoang as the victim and his boyfriend entered the pool area of the complex holding hands.
"He said what are you looking at fa---t," Shores described "And he attacked me."
Hoang took a guilty plea to the crime as a bias-related assault.
The Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region expressed concern over the rise in reported hate crimes. The group called upon elected officials and law enforcement agencies to send a message to the community that hate-motivated attacks will not be tolerated.
In releasing the figures, the FBI said hate crimes remain the "number one investigative priority" of its civil rights unit and pledged to continue collecting data on the problem.