Ohio ranked 3rd in the nation for reports of hate crimes

File Photo - Columbus Ohio (WBNS-10TV)

The FBI 2016 Hate Crime Statistics report showed Ohio is third in the nation for reports of hate crime incidents.

California led the nation with 931 reports, followed by New York with 595 reports. Ohio ranked third with a documented 442 reports of hate crime incidents.

Prosecutors said to keep in mind five states, including Indiana, have failed to pass legislation against hate crimes.

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Between 2014 and 2016, the city of Columbus reported more than double the number of hate crime incidents compared to Cincinnati and Cleveland combined.

In 2016, One-hundred and fifty-one reports were generated from the city of Columbus, compared to 42 reports in Cincinnati and eight reports in Cleveland.

Ohio lawmakers identify a hate crime when the motive or reason includes race, color, religion, or national origin.

Columbus City Attorney, Zach Klein, said city ordinance has taken the legal definition further to include sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, and military status, to name a few.

"So, we actually have a broader group of folks that we want to protect under the ethnic intimidation law because of how intolerable it is for our community and how seriously we take these crimes," said Klein.

The broader definition applies to misdemeanor hate crimes, including menacing, criminal damaging, and telephone harassment.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said "In Ohio, when a murder is committed due to race, color, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation of the victim, there is no enhanced penalty for that evil motive. Ohio must add a new section of aggravated murder and a death penalty specification when that can be proven."