Hate Crimes on the Rise in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.--FBI statistics show hate crimes occur 19 times more in Kansas City than St. Louis. The FBI says the stats are not entirely true.

A Kansas City man who says he was a victim of a hate crime would like to see some changes. Wick Thomas has scars under h is eyes and on his hands from a brutal beating he took two years ago in Hyde Park. He said it was so bad he doesn't remember much.

"I was walking to a friend's house the other day, and I was alone, and I was jumped and didn't see anything coming at all even," Thomas said.

His attackers didn't take anything. They left him bleeding on the cold ground which leads Thomas to believe it was a hate crime.

"I don't think it was ever classified as a hate crime in Kansas City, just because there weren't enough details about the case," he said. "I have a pretty good idea that it was based on my gender representation."

Hate crimes are seemingly happening a lot more in Kansas City than St. Louis. The were four hate crimes for a population of 355,000 people reported in 2010 according to the FBI in St. Louis. In Kansas City, there were 76 for a population of 484,000

"You've got a larger group that's disenfranchised by economics, by politics, by social," said
Alvin Brooks, Ad Hoc Group Against Crime. "I think that people more than likely will become victimized, than in other situations."

The FBI offer another explanation. It's voluntary for local police departments to report the numbers to the FBI.

"Some of those discrepancies could be based on the number who are reporting as well as how they're classifying the crimes,"  said Bridge Patton, FBI Spokesperson. "If they don't see a bias motivator or a bias indicator, it might not get classified specifically as a hate crime."

Wick Thomas says even if the numbers are to small, any number is too high.

"I hope that these numbers, I hope they are a wakeup call," he said.

Missouri ranks 14th in the nation with 167 crimes reported. The numbers are up from 2009 & 2010. The FBI says that's because more agencies are reporting.

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