Hate crimes on decline in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) - The number of hate crimes in Cleveland has dropped in the last 18 months, city officials said.
More than 100 community leaders came together over the past three days to discuss hate crimes at a conference sponsored by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office.
"The vast majority of the city is tolerant," police Cmdr. Edward Tomba said at the conference. "But if you are the one being targeted, it doesn't feel that way."
So far this year, 29 hate crimes have been reported in the city.
There were 145 such crimes reported in 2001, and 96 in 2002.
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, ethnicity-based crimes, which had previously ranked last among hate crimes, moved into second place, more than doubling the incidents in 2000, according to the FBI. Racial bias remains the top motive.
Police departments voluntarily collect such statistics, which the FBI compiles into an annual report. The information can be used by community groups to direct their public education and funding efforts.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)