Massachusetts has launched a new state police unit to help deter hate crimes, support victims and help create more resilient communities as reports of hate crimes are on the rise in the state, Democratic Gov. Maura Healey announced Monday.
The newly formed Hate Crimes Awareness and Response Team will help bolster statewide data collection and information-sharing to identify statewide, national, and global patterns and trends, officials said.
It will also develop training protocols to help police agencies better investigate hate crimes and streamline coordination between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
“Here in Massachusetts, we stand firmly against hate and we are backing up that commitment with resources and investments,” Healey said.
A recent report published by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security recorded 440 reports of hate crime incidents statewide in 2022, up from 406 in 2021 and the highest reported since 2002.
In 2022, like years past, prejudice against race and ethnicity or national origin was the most widely reported bias motivation, followed by reports of bias against religious groups and bias against sexual orientation.