Editor’s Note: The story has been updated to clarify crime statistics provided by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City. We regret the error.
OKLAHOMA (KFOR) — A new 2022 report from the FBI this week shows while hate crime is on the rise nationally, our numbers in Oklahoma have decreased. However, anti-Semitic crimes in Oklahoma continue to grow according to The Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.
The new report from the FBI shows hate crimes against the Jewish community averaged just over 1,000 nationally.
“It’s tough, it’s really hard to see it,” said Rachel Johnson, executive director of The Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma City Jewish community is already on high alert after the attack on Israel.
Unfortunately, they’ve been experiencing hate firsthand.
“The Jewish community has seen a rise in anti-Semitic incidents. Not all of those have been hate crimes because there are different variables to what actually qualifies as a hate crime,” said Johnson.
Earlier this year, News 4 reported many residents in Oklahoma City neighborhoods were finding hateful, anti-Semitic fliers on the foot of their driveways.
Several different notes contained anti-Semitic messages casting Jews as villains destroying society and promoting things like pornography and financial scandals.
Neighbors told News 4 they were worried it would lead to violence.
“This kind of hate can beget consequences, and those consequences have the potential for violence. Hopefully, nothing will happen,” said Jon Lundeen, who found anti-Semitic messages on driveway.
Rachel Johnson with the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City said they’ve been dealing with this issue since the start of this year, and unfortunately, things are only getting worse.
“Unfortunately, in just this amount of time even, through the first half of the year we really saw that our numbers kind of doubled from last year. So, I’m sure it will just keep increasing,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the hate has taken a toll on the community.
“We really just try to come together as a community with our interfaith leaders and other community members just to show that there are more of us that are trying to spread good and there are those trying to spread bad,” said Johnson.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office weighed in on the topic on Friday.
“The state’s statute is very clear; you can’t target somebody violently or for harassment solely based on the person’s race, color, religion, ancestry national origin or disability,” said Aaron Brilbeck, public information office with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office says hate crimes come with a cost.
“If a person is convicted of a hate crime, they can face up to a $1,000 fine, it’s a misdemeanor and up to one year in prison,” said Brilbeck.
You can also report it to your local police.
The other two big categories hate crime falls under here in Oklahoma are race and sexual orientation.