Published: Wed, November 14, 2018

Hate Crimes Increase by 17 Percent, FBI Report Shows

Hate Crimes Increase by 17 Percent, FBI Report Shows

The number of hate crimes reported to law enforcement agencies in the USA increased for the third year in a row, according to the FBI's annual Hate Crimes Statistics report for 2017. The FBI's annual hate crimes report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person's race, religion or sexual orientation, among other categories. The figures rose to 54.2 percent in 2016 and 58.1 percent in 2017. There was a 37% spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes.

A rise in hate crimes against Jews and a bomb threat at the Stroum Jewish Community Center previous year prompted Mercer Island resident Joseph Schocken to push to expand the federal hate-crimes laws to include threats and the defacing of religious institutions.

The goal is to allow the public, researchers, community leaders, and local government to raise awareness of the issue and gain a more accurate picture of hate crimes.

The FBI report is believed to undercount the true extent of hate crime in the United States.That is in part because the report is based on voluntary submissions made by law enforcement agencies, most of which usually don't report hate incidents.Last year, more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies took part in the FBI data collection, but only 2,000 agencies actually reported hate crimes. While the number has increased, the number of agencies reporting also increased by about 1,000. About 3,000 were considered crimes against property, such as vandalism, robbery or burglary.

Critics say Trump's rhetoric has fomented a surge in right-wing extremism and may have even helped provoke the hate crimes. Only 17 percent occurred on the street.


Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker says the report is a "call to action".

Hate crimes reported as lodged against individuals based on the victim's sexual orientation rose by seven percent from 2016 to 2017, from 1,218 cited in 2016 to 1,303 in 2017. The FBI is encouraging more law enforcement agencies to begin reporting hate crime numbers so the agency has a better understanding of the problem.

There were 15,494 agencies that reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2014, covering 297,926,030 people, while in 2015, only 14,997 agencies including 283,884,034 people within their jurisdiction reported.

The vast majority of hate crimes are prosecuted in state courts, with federal prosecutors typically charging between one and two dozen defendants for hate crimes under various federal hate crime statutes.In 2018, the Justice Department filed 22 hate crime cases, according to a spokeswoman.

The Arab American Institute said the report missed "three of the most horrific acts of bias-motivated violence" in 2017, including the August 12 killing of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia; the May 26 fatal stabbing of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrrdin Namkai-Meche on an OR train; and the February 22 shooting death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas.

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