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Pennsylvania offers $5M in support for security at nonprofits targeted by hate crimes

Responding to an uptick in hate crimes that have plagued the United States for years, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week that $5 million would fund security enhancement projects for nonprofits targeted by such crimes in the Commonwealth.

“Hate has no place here in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “No Pennsylvanian should be afraid to worship with their community, love who they love, or be who they are – that’s why this program is so important to me, and I’ve committed $20 million to protecting the diverse communities of this commonwealth.”

These funds will be administered through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which was first launched in 2019. In the years since, it has been used to invest more than $15 million into more than 350 security projects for churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other non-profit organizations subject to hate. Specifically, that money goes to organizations designated as afflicted by single bias hate crime incidents, as identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

New applications will be accepted through Oct. 31, 2022, after which they will be reviewed by a Commission-created workgroup of representatives from the PCCD, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. Ultimately, rewards will be announced this December, with grants ranging from $5,000-$150,000. These funds will be used for items such as safety and security planning and training, affiliated equipment, upgrades to existing structures to enhance safety and security, and vulnerability and threat assessments.

Between 2016 and 2019, Pennsylvania suffered an average of 88 hate crimes annually – with more likely to have gone unnoticed, as the U.S. Department of Justice has estimated nearly two-thirds of hate crimes are never reported. While hate crime figures spiked further during 2020 and 2021, the Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reporting System has indicated that 2022 may be a turning point, with total hate crimes on track to decrease.

Chris Galford

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