Report: Hate crimes on the rise in US
WASHINGTON — The United States saw more hate crimes in 2016 than the previous year, but experts said the problem may be bigger than the number indicated.
The total number of hate crimes last year was 6,121, with an increase of 4.6 percent, compared with 5,850 in 2015, according to new data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday.
Those incidents, the report said, were motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity.
According to the data, the number of hate crimes increased for a second consecutive year, and most were “single-bias incidents”.
Hate crime victims, the FBI said, can be individuals, businesses, government entities, religious organizations, or society as whole, and they can be committed against persons, property or society.
Of those single-bias offenses in 2016, nearly 58 percent were motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry bias, while 21 percent were driven by religious bias and about 18 percent were caused by sexual orientation bias.
More than half of the racerelated incidents were antiblack, while about 20 percent were anti-white, the FBI’s data showed.
Furthermore, over half of the religion-related offenses were anti-Jewish, while a quarter were anti-Muslim.
“No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, or how they worship,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement after the statistics were released.
The FBI report is based on voluntary research by more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies.
But some suggested the FBI figures were incomplete as nearly 90 cities with populations of more than 100,000 either reported no hate crimes or did not submit data for 2016.
“There’s a dangerous disconnect between the rising problem of hate crimes and the lack of credible data being reported,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.
He also called for an “allhands-on-deck” approach to acquire better nationwide figures on the problem.
Sim Singh, the national advocacy manager of the Sikh Coalition, said the FBI statistics “represents the tip of the iceberg”.
Singh said it will be hard for the country to mobilize political will and resources necessary to address the issue if law enforcement agencies fail to document true extent of hate crimes.