The FBI says that 19 known hate crimes occurred in Maine last year, one fewer than the year before.
Robert Trestan, director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England, says Maine’s stats are similar to those seen across the country in one respect.
“And that is that most hate crimes are based upon the victim’s race,” he says.
Ten crimes were race-related, seven involved sexual orientation and two were religious in nature.
Additionally, the ADL’s own heat map, which shows incidents of hate that didn’t rise to criminal level, shows 18 additional incidents in Maine so far this year, two more than all of last year with almost all classified as white supremacist activity.
Since 2004, numbers of hate crimes in Maine have mostly trended downward, with the worst year being 2007, when 72 hate crimes were reported.
Trestan says it’s likely that many crimes continue to go unreported, but he points to the state’s first-ever prosecution of a federal hate crime as an important step in giving victims the confidence to come forward. In March, a Biddeford man was found guilty of carrying out violent, unprovoked attacks on Black men. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison last month.