RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – New data shows North Carolina’s hate crime rate increased 64 percent from 2013 to 2017, which surges past the national average of 22 percent.

The data, which was released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and compiled in a Safe Home study, prompted a speech from Raleigh NAACP President Gerald Givens.

“We all didn’t come to the United States the exact same way but, we’re all here now and we’re all here together,” Givens said while standing in front of a statue of Martin Luther Jr.

“There are some people who have these beliefs that one group of people are superior to another group of people, and that’s been ingrained in our society for centuries. And, the reality is we’re all the same and we’re all capable of being able to achieve the exact same thing,” Givens said.

CBS 17 has covered a number of hate-related crimes in central North Carolina including incidents against the Jewish, Islamic, and LGBTQ communities, as well as people of color.

All of those groups, according to the FBI, have the highest rates of incidents. This does not include crimes that go unreported. 

Givens said that, traditionally, hate crimes tend to be driven by economics. But, he believes North Carolina politics are just as much to blame.

“In North Carolina, those types of policies are kind of like setting the mood and setting the stage for what’s happening,” Givens said.

Part of the solution, he added, is for every group to get out of its comfort zone and get to know one another. Knowing someone makes it harder to hate them.

“The only way we’re going to be able to improve those things is that we have to start spending time together. If we don’t spend time together, these things are not going to be solved. We have to get outside our silos and we have to embrace each other,” said Givens.

Click here for the Safe Home report. Click here for the FBI’s report.

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