(WKRG) — Our Mayoral debate in Mobile had beefed up security from Mobile Police and the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. They called News 5 and offered protection in the wake of the recent deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA.

News 5 did some investigative work to see what hate groups are in our area.

917 hate groups are currently operating in the United States.  That number, listed on the Southern Poverty Law Center website, includes groups targeting race, religion, and sexuality, things the SPLC called immutable, or unchangeable.

“It’s lower than I thought honestly,” said Derek Schultz, who lives in Pensacola.  “That’s lower than I thought. I really figured there’d be more.”

Florida has the second most hate groups in the country according to the SPLC website.  Pensacola Police, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office say they haven’t had any trouble.  Mobile Police also say they haven’t had issues.

SPLC lists just one hate group in Pensacola, Nation of Islam.

“I’m in a new hate group,” said Don Stoakes, who was enjoying a night in downtown Pensacola.  “I hate hate groups. Now there’s two. I’m heading up the other one. Why can’t we all just get along and have drinks.”

We reached out to the group, and they didn’t want to do an interview.  They did say they’re not a hate group.  In recent years, the Ku Klux Klan distributed fliers in Mobile, attacking transgender men and women, and refugees.

Over the past two days, groups around the country held vigils for the tragic events in Charlotteville and the 32-year-old female, Heather Heyer, who died after a car rammed into a group of counter protestors.

Stoakes commented America’s climate, while not fair, points towards being prepared for violence when standing up for what you believe in.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” Stoakes said. “I’m saying no, it’s not fair. You need to be ready though. If there’s that many hate groups in the country as we find out right now…  If there’s that many hate groups, yeah you need to be ready.”

A Nation of Islam groups and a Ku Klux Klan group are listed on the SPLC website for Mobile.  A Ku Klux Klan group is also listed in Leakesville, Mississippi.