The Justice Department said Wednesday that six Western states had formed a coalition of government, religious and law enforcement officials to respond to racial and ethnic incidents in their area.

Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming have formed the Mountain States Coalition Against Malicious Harassment with the help of the department's Community Relations Service (CRS)."The formation of the coalition represents a response by state and local governments in the mountain states to a growing number of incidents of racial, ethnic and religious intimidation in the region," CRS director Grace Hughes said in a statement.