NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - There was one hate crime reported in New Brunswick in 2018, according to statistics released by the FBI last month.
TAPinto New Brunswick has learned that incident, however, has been deemed a false report by the city's police department.
Capt. J.T. Miller said a male told police in Dec. 2018 that he was attacked on George Street in the area of Paterson Street because he is gay. The police immediately launched an investigation into the alleged incident.
"When the investigation was completed, it turns out that's not what happened," Miller said. "He was highly intoxicated in a store on George Street. He started to make a big scene in the store. It had nothing to do with him being a homosexual or not. He was highly intoxicated. They escorted him out of the store. He was upset that they wouldn't let him back in, so he made up this story. Through our investigation, we were able to prove what he said happened did not happen."
Miller said that when someone makes a claim, procedure dictates police must fill out certain forms. Automatically, those forms trigger a hate crime report.
According to the FBI's statistics released in November, the reporting of hate crimes is on the rise in New Jersey.
There were 561 hate crimes reported in the Garden State last year, marking the third consecutive year that hate crimes rose in the state, according to the FBI.
In August, when an executive order from the governor's office established an interagency task force to tackle the problem of bias incidents among students and young adults, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal speculated that the 13% rise in reported hate crimes 2018 could be traced to such factors as incendiary rhetoric on social media platforms, discord in the political arena and better crime reporting by local law officials.
Miller said the male who made the report was not charged with filing a false report.
He said that all officers in the New Brunswick Police Department are trained in regard to bias crimes. Two members of the department who have further training in that area tend to oversee bias cases.
In New Jersey, FBI stats show Evesham Township (23), Lakewood Township (18), Neptune Township (18), Woodbury (16) and East Brunswick (15) had the most reported incidents of bias crimes in 2018.
In neighboring municipalities, Edison had four, Franklin (Somerset County) had one and Highland Park had one.
While reported cases of hate crimes continued to rise in New Jersey, FBI statistics show there is a national downward trend in the numbers.
The number of hate crime incidents reported to the FBI decreased slightly from 2017 to 2018, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s annual statistics.
Law enforcement reported 7,120 hate crimes to the FBI last year, down from the 7,175 incidents reported the previous year.
New Jersey was still reeling from the Dec. 10 shooting that targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City that ended with six dead, including the two shooters, when news came Saturday night that a man entered the home of a rabbi in Monsey, N.Y. and used a machete to stab worshippers on the seventh night of Chanukah.
Grafton Thomas was later arrested in New York City, still covered in blood from the attack.