More than 500 incidents of hate crime were reported in Bury last year alone.
The total for 2018, which stood at 512, fell by five per cent compared with the year before when it peaked at 539.
But there has been a 36 per cent rise in reported incidents in the last two years.
This jump is down to more people reporting hate crimes, councillors were told on Thursday night.
It follows the news in March that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) close nearly half of its investigations into racially and religiously-aggravated offences without identifying a suspect.
Cllr Tamoor Tariq, who chairs the city-region’s police and crime panel, assured councillors that the alarming figures are associated with a change in GMP’s recording practices.
He said: “It is felt that the current figure is a more accurate representation, but it does make historic comparison more difficult.
“I’m sure members will agree that this is not a reflection of how seriously the police take these issues but clearly it shows the work that we’ve got to do in Greater Manchester.
“Regardless of whether hate crime is increasing or not it continues to be a major priority for this council.”
The comments by Bury’s cabinet member for communities were made at a council meeting on Wednesday night.
They followed questions from his Labour colleague Sandra Walmsley and Lib Dem leader Tim Pickstone.
Cllr Walmsley asked whether the police would take into account of a national crime survey which provides statistics from victims who do not necessarily report crime.
She said: “If we take those in conjunction with GMP figures, we should get a truer reflection of the number of crimes being committed and we won’t then end up with recording practices of GMP being an issue in terms of the stats we get reported.”
Cllr Tariq said he would take her suggestion back to the police and crime panel.