Crimes motivated by racial, religious and cultural prejudice are increasing and likely will escalate faster if the nation's economy continues to deteriorate, experts say.

"As economic conditions decline, the civility of society declines also," Jeffrey Ross, director of campus affairs for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, told a conference of the Washington Journalism Center."At the very least things will get worse before they get better," he said.

Ross said the league received reports of anti-Semitic incidents on six college and university campuses in 1984, and the figure increased to 51 in 1989.

"Things seem to be heating up," he said.

Other experts at the conference agreed that incidents of bigotry are increasing and are likely to be stimulated by a declining economy.

Some attribute it to the pressure of competition for jobs among blacks, whites and other racial or religious groups.