SAN ANTONIO – When vandals struck a San Antonio neighborhood near a Jewish temple in 2015, it was one of 10 hate crimes recorded that year near churches, synagogues or temples in Texas. The crime was one of 13 San Antonio police investigated as a hate crime that year, records show.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a hate crime as "a committed criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity."
The Congregation Rodfei Sholom and the neighborhood around it found swastikas and at least one vehicle with "Jew!!" spray painted on it Aug. 15, 2015.
Within days of the incident, surveillance photos emerged showing two young men throwing a large rock through the glass window of a business in the same area. Law enforcement authorities have said the pair is considered persons of interest in the vandalism case. They have still not been identified.
Both the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety collect information on hate crimes, as well as other violations of law.
In 2016, three Bexar County agencies investigated hate crimes – the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (1); Converse Police Department (1), and San Antonio Police Department (10). In 2015, only SAPD (13) and Alamo Community College Police Department (2) investigated hate crimes in Bexar County.
During those time periods, most of the hate crimes happened in residences and homes. Other most common locations listed: highways; roads; streets and alleys; parking lots, and garages.
Statistics for 2017 were not available at press time.
The bias motivation behind hate crimes in Texas and the United States was race/ethnic/ancestry. Nationally, religion and sexual orientation were the most common motivators. In Texas, the other motivators changed. In 2015 they were sexual orientation, religious and gender identity; in 2016 they were religious, disability and sexual orientation.
Nationally, the number of victims of hate crimes increased from 6,418 in 2014 to 7,509 in 2016.
In Texas, the number of victims increased from 190 in 2014 to 201 in 2016.
If you would like to see the full breakdown of statistics: