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Study: Nearly 2 in 3 hate crimes go unreported

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite growing awareness of hate crimes, the share of those crimes reported to police has fallen in recent years as more victims of violent attacks express doubt that police can or will help.

Nearly 2 of 3 hate crimes go unreported to police, the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics reported Thursday. For the years 2003-06, 46 percent of hate crimes were reported to police. But more recently, in 2007-11, just 35 percent were reported.

There was an increase in the percentage of victims of violent hate crimes who didn't report the crime because they believed the police could not or would not help, from 14 percent in 2003-06 to 24 percent in 2007-11, the bureau said.

"It's shocking to see that much of an increase in the feeling of futility that hate crime victims are apparently experiencing," Jason Marsden, the executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, said in an interview. Shepard, a gay college student, was killed in a 1998 attack that police said was motivated in part by his sexual orientation. His parents started the foundation.

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