WASHINGTON - (AP) The FBI is reporting that the number of hate crimes increased last year by nearly 8 percent.
Police nationwide reported over 7,700 criminal incidents in 2006 targeting victims or property because of race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or physical or mental disability. That's an increase of more than 500 from 2005.
Racial prejudice continued to account for more than half the reported instances.
Police in the Tri-Cities said hate crimes are rare in our community.
Officers said they have seen cases where people have been harassed for being gay and swastikas drawn on public property last summer.
The noose hangings and beatings at a high school in Jena, Louisiana, weren't included in the report.
Only 12,600 of the country's more than 17,000 local, county, state and federal police agencies participated in the hate crime reporting program in 2006.
Jena and Lasalle Parish, where the town is located, were not among the agencies reporting.