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Franklin One Of Four County Towns To Report Bias Crimes In 2016

New Jersey’s Attorney General Grubir S. Grewal. Photo:Office of Attorney General / Tim Larsen.

Franklin Township and three other Somerset County towns reported one bias incident each in 2016, according to a report released by the state Attorney General’s Office.

That was a reduction from the two bias crimes reported in Franklin in 2015, according to the report, which was released on March 27.

The four bias crimes recorded in Somerset County in 2016 – the last year for which statistics are available – represented a reduction from the seven bias crimes reported in the county in 2015, according to the report.

No details on the Franklin incident were given in the report.

State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal released the report during a panel discussion at Rutgers University.

Overall, in New Jersey, the number of reported bias crimes increased from 367 in 2015 to 467 in 2016.

“It’s sad that we see bias incidents trending upward, but it’s not surprising, given that we have political leaders in this country who encourage the expression of intolerance and hatred, or in other cases, ignore or countenance it,” Grewal said in a press release about the report. “What we need to do, as individuals and as a society, is to push back against this prejudice. We need to embrace the diversity that makes us stronger as a state and a nation, and we need to spread a countervailing message of tolerance and unity. To quote Nelson Mandela, ‘No one is born hating another person.’ If people can learn to hate, they also can learn to love and respect one another.”

“The tracking and reporting of these incidents paint a disturbing picture of intolerance, discrimination and their corresponding criminal acts,” Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said in the release. “All residents of this great state should feel free to be who they are without the fear of being victimized because of their race, religion or any other identifiable status. The Bias Incident Report will enable law enforcement to work collaboratively and more effectively to investigate these incidents and identify the perpetrators.”

 

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