Hate incidents and crimes are on the rise in New Jersey and at the top of the list is a suburban community in Central Jersey.

Last year, East Brunswick recorded 40 reports of bias incidents — twice the number of the town with the next-highest tally.

The bias incidents in the township of 48,800 residents, exceeded those in the state’s largest cities of Newark (which had one), Jersey City (which had four) and Paterson (which had no reported incidents).

The next-highest counts were in Evesham and Lakewood. Scroll down for the full list.

The data for 2017 and 2018 was compiled and released this summer by the state. The report shows a steady rise in reported bias incidents since 2016 after more than a decade of a decline. The state trend mirrors national numbers.

NJ Office of the Attorney General
NJ Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called the increasing numbers a “crisis” and noted that nearly half of the known offenders are minors and that most of the incidents are being reported on college campuses and schools.

It is not known exactly how much of this rise is due to people and police departments being more conscientious about reporting incidents, but officials say that the increase can’t all be attributed to better reporting.

East Brunswick’s numbers have steadily risen in recent years, from 11 in 2016 to 21 in 2017. A spokesman for the police department did not return a request for more detailed information.

The township is one of the more diverse communities in the state. About 16,000 of its residents are foreign born, many from India, China, Egypt, Philippines, Poland, Russia and Ukraine and several Latin American nations. About 66% of residents are white, 25% are Asian, less than 5% are black and less than 8% are Hispanic, according to the most recent American Community Survey estimates.

Last year, 177 municipalities recorded at least one bias incident. Less than 50 recorded at least four incidents. They are listed below.

Bias incidents are suspected or confirmed offenses committed because of the victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than half of hate crime victims from 2011 to 2015 did not bother calling police.

Black people in New Jersey were the most frequent targets of race-based incidents while Jewish people were the most frequent religious targets. Hispanic people were the most frequent ethnic-based target.

The state’s report noted that scholars and experts believe that social media, political rhetoric and the rise in the number of hate groups are partly to blame for the rise in such incidents.

The state report cites a study by the Centers for the Study of Hate and Extremism that found that anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked in the days after 9/11 but “dropped dramatically” after President George W. Bush delivered a speech six days after the attacks to inform “fellow Americans” that “the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”

By contrast, the study found that when then-candidate Donald Trump called for a Muslim travel ban five days after the San Bernardino, California, attack by two homegrown, self-directed extremists in 2015, hate crimes spiked compared to the days immediately following the shooting. There also was a rise in what the report described as hate-related searches on Google following Trump’s proposal.

Bias incidents don’t always result in criminal charges. But law enforcement agencies want people to report all incidents, regardless of whether they think it was a crime or not.

In July, after gay pride flags were repeatedly stolen from the Fine Fellows Creamery ice cream shop in Cape May, the county prosecutor published a statement saying that people should always report bias incidents, even if they may not rise to the level of a crime, because the incidents “could lead to crimes in the future; or be evidence of hate groups in our community [...] and planning or engaged in potential bias crimes,” Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland wrote.

In 2017, 549 bias incidents resulted in 34 arrests. Last year, 569 incidents resulted in 59 arrests.

The most frequent offense was harassment followed by intimidation and vandalism. There were few violent crimes last year tied to bias intimidation: six aggravated assaults, a robbery, a rape, and a homicide (of a white man in Monmouth County.)

NJ towns with most reported bias incidents — 2018

■ East Brunswick — Middlesex
Population: 48,840
Bias incidents: 40

■ Evesham Twsp — Burlington
Population: 45,381
Bias incidents: 22

■ Lakewood Twsp — Ocean
Population: 102,682
Bias incidents: 20

■ Neptune Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 27,844
Bias incidents: 19

■ Woodbury City — Gloucester
Population: 9,919
Bias incidents: 16

■ Howell Twsp — Monmouth
Bias incidents: 14

■ Rockaway Twsp — Morris
Population: 25,494
Bias incidents: 14

■ Madison Boro — Morris
Population: 16,033
Bias incidents: 13

■ Keansburg Boro — Monmouth
Population: 9,806
Bias incidents: 11

■ Bridgeton City — Cumberland
Population: 24,505
Bias incidents: 10

■ Manalapan Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 40,013
Bias incidents: 10

■ Hillsdale Boro — Bergen
Population: 10,581
Bias incidents: 9

■ Englewood City — Bergen
Population: 29,112
Bias incidents: 7

■ Medford Twsp — Burlington
Population: 23,496
Bias incidents: 7

■ Moorestown Twsp — Burlington
Population: 20,540
Bias incidents: 7

■ Hoboken City — Hudson
Population: 55,131
Bias incidents: 7

■ South Brunswick Twsp — Middlesex
Population: 46,561
Bias incidents: 7

■ Marlboro Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 40,306
Bias incidents: 7

■ Clifton City — Passaic
Population: 86,607
Bias incidents: 7

■ Little Falls Twsp — Passaic
Population: 14,502
Bias incidents: 7

■ Cherry Hill Twsp — Camden
Population: 71,479
Bias incidents: 6

■ Toms River — Ocean
Population: 93,017
Bias incidents: 6

■ Fort Lee Boro — Bergen
Population: 37,907
Bias incidents: 5

■ Franklin Lakes Boro — Bergen
Population: 11,255
Bias incidents: 5

■ Ridgewood Village — Bergen
Population: 25,692
Bias incidents: 5

■ Ewing Twsp — Mercer
Population: 36,549
Bias incidents: 5

■ Princeton — Mercer
Population: 31,822
Bias incidents: 5

■ Aberdeen Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 18,355
Bias incidents: 5

■ Ocean Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 26,988
Bias incidents: 5

■ Boonton Town — Morris
Population: 8,354
Bias incidents: 5

■ Pompton Lakes — Passaic
Population: 11,206
Bias incidents: 5

■ Summit City — Union
Population: 22,323
Bias incidents: 5

■ Westfield Town — Union
Population: 30,433
Bias incidents: 5

■ Hackensack City — Bergen
Population: 45,248
Bias incidents: 4

■ Livingston Twsp — Essex
Population: 30,142
Bias incidents: 4

■ Montclair Town — Essex
Population: 39,227
Bias incidents: 4

■ West Orange Town — Essex
Population: 48,435
Bias incidents: 4

■ Monroe Twsp — Gloucester
Population: 36,920
Bias incidents: 4

■ Jersey City — Hudson
Population: 270,753
Bias incidents: 4

■ Hopewell Twsp — Mercer
Population: 18,265
Bias incidents: 4

■ Edison Twsp — Middlesex
Population: 102,450
Bias incidents: 4

■ Monroe Twsp — Middlesex
Population: 45,332
Bias incidents: 4

■ New Brunswick City — Middlesex
Population: 57,073
Bias incidents: 4

■ Old Bridge Twsp — Middlesex
Population: 67,032
Bias incidents: 4

■ Freehold Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 35,053
Bias incidents: 4

■ Middletown Twsp — Monmouth
Population: 65,603
Bias incidents: 4

■ Randolph Twsp — Morris
Population: 25,893
Bias incidents: 4

■ Wayne Twsp — Passaic
Population: 55,072
Bias incidents: 4

■ New Providence — Union
Population: 13,308
Bias incidents: 4

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