SPLC Year in Hate and Extremism report shows decline - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

SPLC Year in Hate and Extremism report shows decline

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The number of hate groups in America is on the decline, but the shear number of them remains at record levels.

According to a recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, fewer people admit involvement in hate groups, like the Sovereign Citizens.

But compared to 20 years ago, there are still more than twice as many fringe groups. Given the fact that there are tens of thousands of people who identify with extremist ideas, groups like the SPLC and the federal government have no choice but to study the cause and effect of extremism at this level.

VIEW: SPLC interactive hate crime map

But the good news is, for the first time in a decade,  there are fewer groups to choose from.

There are two classifications of extremist groups:  Hate groups, like the Ku Klux Klan, and patriot groups, like the Sovereign Citizens, which we are all too familiar with here in the Mid-South.

The number of hate groups fell by seven percent to below 1,000 at 939. As for patriot groups, that number fell 19 percent, from an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012 to 1,096 in 2013.

The reason for the decline is an improving economy, law enforcement crackdowns, and, the most interesting theory proposed Tuesday, by the SPLC, the re-election of President Barack Obama.

According to the SPLC, the decline in the number of these groups has not led to a drastic decline in violence. In fact, the biggest fear is that more lone wolf types of terrorism will emerge as the extremist groups become less popular.

California has the highest number of extremist groups with 77. Down the line, Tennessee has 37, Arkansas 24, and Mississippi 22.

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