hate crimes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Hate crimes in Tennessee jumped in 2011, rising 51 percent above 2010 levels.

According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation there were 261 recorded hate crimes last year.

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

Here in Middle Tennessee, hate crimes were reported in the cities of Clarksville, Manchester, Gallatin, Lebanon, Nashville and Spring Hill.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The father of a gay college student who died after being beaten says he's disturbed by anti-gay legislation being proposed in Tennessee.

Dennis Shepard spoke at a Nashville news conference Wednesday. Shepard's son, Matt, was 21 when he was beaten 14 years ago in Wyoming, tied to a fence and left in the cold by two men he met in a bar.

His death spurred passage of a measure that expanded an earlier federal hate crime law to include sexual orientation, among other things.

The FBI says the level of hate crime reported by police around the country remained about the same in 2010 compared with the previous year.

The bureau says just over 6,600 hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI, up by just 24 incidents over 2009.

Tennessee apparently doing much better than the national average.

Kristin Helm, a spokesperson for the The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, says hate crimes in Tennessee decreased by about 20 percent from 2009 levels.