Increase Of Ku Klux Klan Membership In Colorado Tracks National Rise Of Hate Crimes

The KKK says their membership is “booming” in Colorado, with 12 white supremacist groups active in the state, according to a report by The Durango Herald.

Herald staff writer Chase Olivarius-McAllister reported earlier this week that Cole Thornton, Imperial Grand Wizard of Colorado’s United Northern and Southern Knights Ku Klux Klan group, claims that membership has grown steadily in the past few years.

“I’m really pleased with the kind of people we’re getting in – college-educated, professionals, teachers – even a couple congressmen. People would be amazed to know who I’ve talked with at midnight in isolated areas – it’s almost comical,” Thornton said to the Durango Herald.

A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization based in Montgomery, found that the number of "radical right groups" in America -- including hate groups, "Patriot" groups and nativist groups -- increased in 2010 for the second year in a row.

In Durango, Colorado, racially motivated hate crimes rose from just three crimes between the years of 2006 and 2009, to four in 2010, and 19 in 2011, according to the Herald's report. According to FBI data, hate crimes fell 30 percent between 2009 and 2010 in the state of Colorado.

Thornton attributed the KKK’s growing membership in Colorado in part to “whites’ low birthrate” in the country.

“We’re losing them to white homosexual relationships – they don’t reproduce – and interracial marriage – and to abortions on demand. Plus, immigration’s astronomical with Hispanics,” Thornton said in an interview with the Durango Herald.

According to U.S. Census data, Colorado’s Latino population grew by more than 40 percent between 2000 and 2010. And Denver, the state's largest city, is now more than 30 percent Latino.

As the Latino population surged nationally in recent years, so did anti-Latino hate crimes.

The preliminary findings by the National Institute of Justice suggests that anti-Latino hate crimes rose disproportionally to other hate crimes between 2004 and 2008. Data collected by the FBI also indicates a steady rise in anti-Latino hate crimes across the country from 2003 to 2007.