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Anti-Defamation League Tracking “Disturbing Uptick” In Houston-Area Hate Incidents

The group says it’s been a “long time” since it has seen this number of hate incidents so close together in the Houston area.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says it’s working with law enforcement to respond to recent hate-related incidents in the greater Houston area.

The group is tracking what it calls a “disturbing uptick” in displays of hate speech after four incidents in the past week in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties. Swastikas were found painted on fences, racist flyers appeared at a home and at Rice University, and a group of high school students in Cypress gave an apparent Nazi salute during a class photo.

The ADL’s Southwest Regional Director Dayan Gross says he hope this isn’t part of a growing trend, but says it’s been a “long time” since his group’s seen this number of hate incidents so close together.

“Within the first two months of 2017, we’ve already had 25 incidents,” he says. 

The ADL says it typically deals with about 30-40 such incidents over an entire year.

Gross says it’s hard to attribute the increase to any one factor, but the ADL believes it’s at least partly tied to the recent election.

“Since the election of President Donald Trump, extremists in this country have felt emboldened,” Gross says.

The group is encouraging people to report these kind of acts, while the school district in Cypress says it will discipline some of the students involved in that incident. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says it hasn’t seen any trend of local hate incidents, though some have been reported to deputies. “Each incident is investigated to determine if there is evidence of a crime,” the sheriff’s office says.

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