- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - FBI statistics suggest hate crimes are less common in New Hampshire than elsewhere, but an Associated Press analysis shows many law enforcement agencies are failing to file the requested reports.

The AP identified more than 2,700 city and county law enforcement agencies across the country that have not filed a single hate crime report with the FBI during the past six years, which represents 17 percent of all such agencies nationwide.

In New Hampshire, that figure is 28 percent, with 57 municipal police departments and six county sheriff’s offices failing to file reports from 2009 to 2014. Another 19 towns missed at least one year of reporting.

Franklin, the state’s smallest city, with about 8,500 residents, was the only city that failed to file reports for all six years. The rest of the municipal agencies were in mostly small towns, including 41 that have fewer than 2,000 residents.

Franklin Police Chief David Goldstein said he didn’t realize the FBI wanted annual reports even if agencies didn’t investigate any hate crime incidents. There haven’t been any in the seven years he’s been on the job, he said.

“Police departments aren’t reticent,” he said. “If it qualifies, we’ll handle it.”

In Hollis, Lt. Joe Hoebeke said he doesn’t know why his department hasn’t filed reports. Like Goldstein, he said officials would look into the matter to ensure future compliance.

“We incorrectly assumed that info was forwarded to the FBI by the state,” he said. “We are very progressive-minded. This is certainly something we feel is appropriate to do.”

The FBI says collecting data on crimes motivated by biases based on race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and ethnicity results in greater awareness and understanding of such problems. Among those who did report, New Hampshire averaged about two dozen hate crimes per year, with a low of 14 in 2014 and a high of 31 in 2010. The latter represents the only year during the six-year period where New Hampshire’s per capita rate was higher than the national average.

More than half the incidents involved bias based on race. Thirty-two of the incidents involved sexual orientation, 26 involved religion and 10 involved ethnicity.

In one of the more high-profile cases, a Concord man was sentenced to a year in jail for scrawling racist graffiti on the homes of four African refugee families in 2011 and 2012. The case went unsolved for nearly two years until a detective sifted through thousands of incident reports and gun permit applications to find a handwriting match to the graffiti.

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