NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – As the childhood saying goes, sticks and stone may break bones but words will never hurt. A new study by New York University suggests that might not be the case.

According to NYU research, cities with more of a certain kind of racist tweets reported more actual hate crimes related to race, ethnicity, and national origin.

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Two professors at the NYU College of Global Public Health led a team that fed 532 million tweets published between 2011 and 2016 into a machine learning model to recognize both posts with discriminatory views and those describing such remarks or acts.

“We found that more targeted, discriminatory tweets posted in a city related to a higher number of hate crimes,” said assistant professor Rumi Chunara. “This trend across different types of cities (for example, urban, rural, large, and small) confirms the need to more specifically study how different types of discriminatory speech online may contribute to consequences in the physical world.”

The news comes as the New York Police Department says anti-Semetic hate crimes are up a staggering 82 percent in the city.

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Most recently this week, racist, inflammatory and inaccurate content has circulated on far right blogs, news sites and social media accounts about Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and her three freshman colleagues since they ran for public office. In addition to Omar, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have been targeted.

In March, a western New York man was charged with threatening to kill Rep. Omar. Federal prosecutors say that Patrick Carlineo Jr. was arrested after placing a threatening call to Omar’s office in Washington D.C.

Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee in 1995 when she was a child. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000 at age 17. She is the biggest target of online vitriol among the four legislators, has made comments that raise eyebrows, including a remark this spring in which she referenced the Sept. 11 attacks by saying that “some people did something.”

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