Governor Larry Hogan Announces Additional Funding to Prevent Hate Crimes
FY 2020 Budget Includes $5 Million for Increased Security Measures at Schools and Places of Worship
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced a total of $5 million in funding to enhance security at facilities in Maryland that are potential targets for hate crimes, including schools and places of worship. The funding will support additional security needs including training, security personnel, and security-related technology such as cameras, door-hardening, improved lighting, and other security-related facility upgrades.
“Hate has no place in our society and we stand united in our conviction that a diverse and inclusive Maryland is a stronger Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “These investments will allow us to more effectively prevent and address instances of hate and violence across our state, and help ensure that Maryland remains a place where people of all backgrounds and beliefs can call home.”
The governor is including $3 million in his Fiscal Year 2020 budget to protect houses of worship that are at risk for hate crimes. This new competitive grant program will be administered by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. Houses of worship will be eligible for funding regardless of religious affiliation.
“Governor Hogan has made it clear we will not tolerate hatred towards others because of their background or beliefs,” said Glenn Fueston, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention. “These funds will help religious institutions and schools to enhance their security and keep our communities safe.”
The Schools and Child Care Centers – State Grant Program, established by Senate Bill 1191 during the 2017 legislative session, is operated by the Maryland Center for School Safety. Governor Hogan appropriated $1 million in funding for the program in Fiscal Year 2019, which has been awarded to 28 applicants in order to make improvements to help keep their institutions equipped and prepared. Building upon this success, the governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget will include $2 million to continue this program – a doubling of last year’s appropriation.
“This grant will help enhance those at-risk venues so they can have the tools and resources needed to keep our children safe,” said Kate Hession, Executive Director of the Maryland Center for School Safety. “Ensuring the well-being of our children while in school or at a childcare center is paramount, and this funding will help achieve that goal.”
Hate crimes reported to the FBI increased by 30 percent between 2016 and 2017, the most recent year of data, and most experts agree hate crimes are underreported. To strengthen reporting of hate crimes, the Maryland State Police will introduce legislation to broaden law enforcement reporting requirements so that reporting on hate crimes is more reflective of the hate crimes occurring in Maryland. The legislation will bring the definition of what must be reported in line with what legally constitutes a hate crime – actions directed against an individual or group because of race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin or because another person or group is homeless.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1957, ‘Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,’ and those words still ring true 60 years later,” said Dr. Calvin Baltimore, Pastor of The People’s Community Baptist Church and The Missionary Baptist Ministers Conference of D.C., Maryland, and the Vicinity. “While we continue to spread love, we are grateful to the state for providing resources to help keep our most vulnerable and precious members of society, our children, safe and secure.”
“We must stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism and other acts and words of hatred,” said Yehuda Neuberger, President of the Baltimore Jewish Council. “The initiatives announced today by Governor Hogan will strengthen and protect communities across Maryland.”
“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) is pleased that Governor Hogan recognizes the growing need to protect our faith based institutions by allocating much needed funds for both operating and capital security needs,” said Ron Halber, Executive Director of the JCRC.
“We all seek a society free from hate and intolerance, one that celebrates diverse backgrounds and inclusiveness,” said Imam Earl El-Amin, Muslim Community Cultural Center of Baltimore. “As the Quran reads in Chapter 49, verse 13: ‘O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other).’ Maryland’s growing Muslim community believes working closely with our state leaders is important to protecting our children in their places of education and worship.”