Hate crimes in Tenn. jump, cause not clear

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Hate crimes in Tennessee jumped in 2011 from a five-year low the year before.

According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation statistics reported in the Commercial Appeal, there were 261 recorded hate crimes last year.

That is a 51 percent increase from 2010.

Hate crime statistics tend to fluctuate a lot from year to year. There were 426 in 2008, 243 in 2009 and 173 in 2010.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said it is hard to know whether the fluctuations are the result of more crimes being committed or more people reporting the crimes. It could also reflect changes in the way law enforcement officials categorize the crimes.

Hate crimes recorded in 2011 include 71 cases of vandalism, 60 cases of intimidation and 52 cases of simple assault.

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