Hate Crimes In US Surge During Donald Trump's First Year, Says FBI

Clay Curtis
November 14, 2018

Hate crimes in the United States jumped 17 percent in 2017, with a spike in Islamophobic attacks and anti-Semitic incidents, marking the third year in a row that such attacks have increased, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data released on Tuesday.

The majority (59.6 percent) of crimes in the "single-bias incident" category were motivated by a person's race, ethnicity, or ancestry.

Of the reported attacks in 2017, 2,013 were aimed at African Americans and 938 were against Jewish Americans.

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

North Carolina's population rose by 1.2 percent between 2016 and 2017.

An annual report shows there were more than 7,100 reported hate crimes past year. At more than 900 incidents, anti-Semitic hate crimes accounted for 58 percent of all religious-motivated hate crimes. While the number has increased, the number of agencies reporting also increased by about 1,000. Over 4,000 cases involved crimes against individuals, ranging from harassment to assault.

Around 3,000 were targeted at property, which includes vandalism or burglary.

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"The FBI data, in what is missing from it, also demonstrates the hate crime reporting system we have in place is failing to respond adequately to hate crime, and thus inform fully the policy remedies we must make to improve our response to hate", Berry said in a statement. "This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America". Although the numbers increased previous year, so did the number of law enforcement agencies reporting hate crime data-with approximately 1,000 additional agencies contributing information.

The FBI defines a hate crime as 'a committed criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias (es) against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity'.

"That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs".

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker called the report a "call to action" and condemned the offences as "despicable violations of our core values as Americans".

In his statement, Mr Whitaker said: "The Department of Justice's top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes".

In 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which required the USA attorney general to collect data "about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity".

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