Updated at 9:28 a.m. on March 4

White supremacist propaganda in the U.S. remained high in 2021, according to a report released Thursday by the Anti Defamation League (ADL), and included jumps in antisemitic activity and white supremacist events.

The ADL documented 4,851 cases of racist, antisemitic and other hate mesages — a 5% drop from 2020, but the second highest number since 2017 when the ADL began compiling annual reports to track white supremacist incidents including racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ+ acts.

Nationally, antisemitic messaging rose 27%, and white supremacist events — such as protests and flash mobs — more than doubled.

Massachusetts was found to have the fourth highest levels of hate propaganda activity in the country after Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas. This type of propaganda includes racist and antisemitic fliers, banners, and stenciled graffiti. At least 12 known white supremacist groups were behind hate propaganda in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

But in New England, the ADL says two groups are behind the biggest increase in activity: Patriot Front, a white nationalist hate group, and the National Socialist Club, a neo-Nazi group also known as NSC 131, which reportedly now focuses its activity on New England. The ADL’s data showed Patriot Front was responsible for 82% of incidents nationally.

Patriot Front has shifted strategy to lure people in — using football imagery or red, white and blue symbols to evoke patriotism rather than white supremacist activitiy, said Peggy Shukur, ADL’s Deputy Director for New England.

“There's greater attention to intentional recruitment efforts, that's what we see with Patriot Front. They are sort of lured into these groups through these seemingly innocuous fliers,” said Shukur. “Like in New England, you know, it evokes football. It doesn't evoke white supremacist activity... and for some, they stay with it.”

White supremacists have targeted several college campuses in Massachusetts, including Boston University and Framingham State University. Dan Magazu, a spokesperson for Framingham State, said there have been several incidents where propaganda stickers connected to the Patriot Front were placed around campus, including most recently in December. Magazu said the university has an ongoing investigation into these incidents.

“Obviously it’s very upsetting. We’re absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this,” Magazu said. “We have an increasingly diverse campus, and our students are really engaged in issues of social justice and racism.”

While white supremacist protests and flash mobs were more prevalent in other parts of the country, said Shukur, in New England groups were “upping their game,” with a recent protest by Neo-Nazis at a library in Providence and another at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston by NSC 131. Shukur said that group's activities have grown in New England.

“We would see the NSC protest about once a month with like half a dozen people, but we're seeing their activity appear more frequently and with greater numbers of people. So, that's a concerning sign in the region,” said Shukur.

A spokesperson for the Boston Division of the FBI said it doesn’t comment on individual reports, but noted its ongoing public awareness campaign, launched in 2021 as part of a nationwide effort, and encourages victims and witnesses to report hate crimes.