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With Hate Crimes On The Rise, Brooklyn DA Launches New Unit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Brooklyn district attorney has created a hate crimes unit to deal with a rise in reported racially and religiously motivated attacks across the borough.

The Wall Street Journal reported the unit will initially have five prosecutors.

It will be led by Marc Fliedner, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson's civil rights bureau chief.

With Hate Crimes On The Rise, Brooklyn DA Launches New Unit

The prosecutors will have access to tools more commonly used in organized crime investigations and will use technology that can scour social media in the effort to prove a suspect's mind-set.

The unit is already working on 30 active cases.

According to the NYPD, Brooklyn had 95 reported hate crimes from Jan. 1 to Sept. 14 -- a 30 percent rise compared to the same period in 2013. New York City as a whole saw a 17 percent increase in the same time frame.

From 2008 to 2012, Brooklyn had the highest number of reported hate crimes, followed by Manhattan, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.

Public Advocate Letitia James, who has established a task force on hate crimes, said prosecuting such cases can be difficult.

"Intent is an element that has to be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt, and oftentimes it requires some factual evidence, which would indicate that individuals are being targeted," she told WCBS 880's Paul Murnane.

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