Updated: Friday, 27 Feb 2009, 4:31 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 26 Feb 2009, 4:27 PM EST
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows the number of hate groups in the U.S. in on the rise. One group cited in the report is located in Roanoke, just southwest of Fort Wayne.
NewsChannel 15 traveled to to the small town Thursday night to see what people had to say.
"It is a little bit shocking, but no big surprise, it's a small town," says Sean Hiebel, a Roanoke resident for eight years.
Another resident, Becky Beal says,"You're kidding, no way is my thought, I just can't imagine it."
The report lists WTM Enterprises as a White Nationalist group located in Roanoke. It also lists a Neo-Nazi group known as the White Aryan Resistance as being located in Warsaw.
The Southern Poverty Law Center's "Year in Hate" issue of its Intelligence Report was released Thursday morning. It indicates the number of hate groups in the United States has increased by 54 percent since 2000. The rise is attributed to immigration fears, a failing economy and the successful campaign of Barack Obama.
"We've had a steady increase, four,five,six percent since 2000. In 2000 we had 202 hate groups. This year we're up to 926. So, it's been like a step ladder of hate," says Heidi Beirich, Director of Research and Special Projects for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The rise is attributed to immigration fears, a failing economy and the successful campaign of Barack Obama.
Beirich explains, "Even as we make those strides, there are people who are going to react negatively against them, people who do hold deep racist views."
The center finds most of the hate groups online, through websites and advertisements.
The center also relies on things like fliers, magazines, and
tips from police to locate these groups and put them into their