SAN ANTONIO – A recent study from California State University shows that hate crimes in 2018 went up by 9% nationwide and went up by 100% in San Antonio.
A local rabbi who was a victim of a hate crime says the community needs to teach tolerance to prevent further crimes.
"Your heart sinks and it feels like a punch in the gut all at the same time because you think you're safe. You live your life," said Rabbi Jeffrey Abraham.
In 2015, his congregation, Agudas Achim, was tagged with anti-Semitic graffiti. In 2018, a Northwest Side neighborhood was hit with graffiti targeting the LGBTQ community and the Jewish community again.
But the rise in hate crimes isn't actually not as much as it seems.
|City (population)||Number of hate crimes||Rise/decline (%)|
|New York City (8.62 million)||361||+7%|
|Los Angeles (3.99 million)||290||+13%|
|Chicago (2.71 million)||77||+26%|
|Houston, (2.31 million)||32||+191%|
|Phoenix (1.62 million)||107||-53%|
|Philadelphia (1.58 million)||43||+8%|
|San Antonio (1.51 million)||8||+100%|
|San Diego (1.41 million)||41||No change from prior year|
|Dallas (1.34 million)||35||+157%|
|San Jose, California (1.03 million)||36||-18%|
The study says in 2017, San Antonio had four hate crimes, and that number went up to eight hate crimes in 2018.
Compared to San Antonio, Philadelphia had 43 hate crimes and San Diego had 41 hate crimes.
Abraham said he believes San Antonio is on a good path, but it's still not enough.
"Whatever place we're living in, we should try to make it to the number is zero, right?" Abraham said. "That's the ultimate goal."
Abraham said San Antonio formed the Interfaith San Antonio Alliance more than a year ago as one way to combat hate crimes and educate the community about tolerance.
"Hopefully, we can educate the next generation so that they are brought up not hating and instead learning to love one another and respect one another," Abraham said.
He believes things are moving in the right direction with a new state law, which mandates a week of Holocaust, genocide and tolerance education in public schools. But he said public schools should take it a step further by adding an additional week of tolerance education.
"How to understand it and whether it's sexuality issues, whether it's difference of religion, whether it's just difference of cultures … that way we learn from each other," Abraham said.
The study did not specify the details of the eight hate crimes in San Antonio. KSAT reached out to the San Antonio Police Department about the details in those cases but did not hear back.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that San Antonio hate crimes went up by 50%. The story has been edited to show hate crimes went up by 100%.