Anna Sheffer
Updated Mar 12, 2018 @ 2:28 pm
Austin package explosions could be hate crimes.
Credit: Mohammad Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Hatred and prejudice have always been motivating factors for some people who commit violent crimes. But in the past few years, it seems like hate crime in America has been on the rise. Most recently, a series of unexplained bombings in Austin has alarmed local police, who have said that they can’t rule out the possibility that these Austin package explosions were hate crimes.

Today, March 12th, a package exploded after being left in front of an Austin home. The blast killed a teenage boy and injured a woman in her 40s after they brought the parcel into their kitchen and opened it. The Austin Police Department said in a news conference that this incident could be related to a similar bombing that took place on March 2nd and resulted in the death of a man named Anthony Stephan House. Both package bombs were not delivered by any official mail service. Another explosion this afternoon injured a woman in her 70s.

Police Chief Brian Manley said in the news conference that although the motive and the ideology behind the Austin bombings is unclear, all three families that were targeted were African American.

He also said that if citizens find an unexpected package on their doorsteps, they should report it to the Austin Police Department.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the state’s Criminal Justice Division would offer a $15,000 reward to anyone who could provide information about the Austin package explosions. In a statement released by the governor’s office, he wrote that tips will be kept anonymous and can be provided by phone or text, as well as on the Texas Department of Public Safety website or app.

Even though we don’t know for sure what the motive behind the Austin package explosions is, they’re still scary. We hope that the police are able to discover who is planting these bombs and why. And even if these bombings turn out not to be hate crimes, we’ll continue to support those who are fighting against hatred and prejudice. Stay safe, Austin!