We reported to you earlier this week that according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), New Jersey has the 5th highest number of hate groups in the nation.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The state's top law enforcement official questions that claim, but acknowledges such groups are active in the Garden State and today he explains the catalysts for hatred and bigotry.

"A couple of things that generally are tied to the rise in hate groups are difficult times in the economy (and) issues relating to illegal aliens and, interestingly enough one of the things that we see unfortunately is the existence of an African-American president," explains acting State Attorney General John Hoffman. "Those are three things."

The economy is getting better, but it's still not robust. There is also a lot of talk about laws and legislation relating to undocumented immigrants and President Barack Obama is an African-American. Those catalysts for those susceptible to bigotry and hatred exist.

"What I've come to understand is hate groups are a manifestation of frustration," says Hoffman. "You can date that back historically to Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazis during a time after World War I when Germany was in a terrible economic situation…. There's far less frustration when the economy is better."

Raising awareness about hate groups is vital according to Hoffman. New Jersey has a bias crime tip line (1-800-277-BIAS).